17.1% Workers’ Comp Rate Increase Will Harm Florida’s Economy/Job Growth

By: Edie Ousley

Florida Chamber of Commerce Urges State Leaders to Put Small Businesses and Injured Workers Ahead of Personal Injury Trial Lawyers

IF RATE IS APPROVED, FLORIDA WILL HAVE THE HIGHEST RATES IN THE SOUTHEAST 

TALLAHASSEE, FL (May 27, 2016) – With job creators facing a 17.1 percent workers’ compensation rate increase, the Florida Chamber of Commerce today encourages the Florida Legislature to put small businesses and injured workers before personal injury trial lawyers through whatever means necessary.

The recommended 17.1 percent workers’ comp rate increase, announced earlier today by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI,) the industry’s provider of workers’ comp analysis and rates, primarily results from a recent Florida Supreme Court ruling that deemed Florida’s attorney fee provision unconstitutional.

The high court’s April 28th action threw out Florida’s attorney fee structure which was originally established in 2003. The 2003 reforms were put in place to help stabilize out-of-control workers’ comp rates which at the time were the highest in the country, and during the last 13 years have helped lower rates nearly 60 percent.

By putting job creators and injured workers first, lawmakers can help prevent businesses from being forced to pay higher rates, and avoid harming Florida’s growing economy and private-sector job growth. With Florida small businesses creating two of every three jobs, this is particularly important and can help prevent employers from choosing between hiring a new worker or paying increased workers’ comp rates.

“We’ve led efforts for more than 10 years to help lower workers’ comp rates by almost 60 percent, and now that personal injury trial lawyers and an activist court are forcing rates to likely skyrocket, we’re not about to back down,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “The Florida Chamber will lead the charge to ensure small businesses aren’t crushed under the weight of increased workers’ comp rates, and that workers’ have access to quality healthcare so they can return quickly back to work.”

The Florida Chamber is actively leading the charge to keep workers’ comp working. In fact, the Florida Chamber’s Workers’ Comp Task Force is preparing a legislative remedy, and is coordinating with the best legal minds, along with communicating with legislative and executive leadership.

The Florida Chamber looks forward to continuing to work with Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature to craft a solution to the Florida Supreme Court’s ill-advised and overreaching attempt to legislate from the bench.

The NCCI rate increase recommendation would take effect August 1, 2016 following approval by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

 

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.