Senate Workers' Comp Overhaul Promises To Be A Chore

Dec 13, 2016

Senate leaders are promising to take a comprehensive approach to overhauling Florida’s workers’ compensation system as business groups rail against a pending 14.5 percent rate hike.

The Senate began what promises to be a long and contentious workers' compensation overhaul as the Banking and Insurance Committee took testimony for the first time.

An Associated Industries of Florida expert warned the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee that Florida has dropped from 33rd most expensive workers’ comp state to 23rd since the courts stuck down business friendly reforms enacted in 2003.

Business groups primarily blame the loss of a cap on attorney fees. But Committee Chairwoman Anitere Flores of Miami says the Senate will focus on a number of issues, including a private consortium’s closed-door method for determining rates.

“I think that what we took away from here is that this is a very complicated issue, that there are a lot of factors that go into determining the rates, but I do think that looking at the rate-making agency is something that hadn’t been done in the prior reforms.”

The First District Court of Appeal is weighing a challenge to the rate hike. Meanwhile, trial attorneys and labor groups are blaming industry for manufacturing a crisis.