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State Appeal Sends Worker Comp Rates Soaring

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Just when they thought they had dodged a bullet, it looks like Florida businesses will be hit with a major increase in workers compensation rates after all.

Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier (ALT-myer,) is appealing a circuit court ruling that blocked the increase. The National Federation of Independent Businesses’ Bill Herrle says insurance companies will try to cash in when lawmakers overhaul the system next session.

“The insurance industry will find a way, through the Office of Insurance Regulation, to catch up on these rates, and then it’s going to hit the business community with very much a harder thump.”

The state’s appeal clears the way for the hikes to take effect December 1st unless another court intervenes. Insurance companies demanded the rate increases after the Florida Supreme Court struck a cap on attorney fees and other employer friendly reforms.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.