Ratemaking Challenges in Today’s Atypical Workers’ Compensation Environment

By Brett Foster

At NCCI’s Annual Issues Symposium 2019, a video shown on the underwriting market cycle discussed the ebbs and flows of the workers compensation industry and how the market has changed since the 1990s.

Soft market typically refers to periods when coverage is widely available and insurance companies lower prices to actively compete for market share. During a soft market, industry reserve deficiencies may build as companies release reserves to offset increasing underwriting losses. On the other hand, hard market generally describes periods of relatively higher prices, tightening underwriting standards, and reserve strengthening.

Today’s workers compensation environment is healthy and competitive. However, industry stakeholders have described the current market as atypical, displaying a hybrid of both SOFT-market and HARD-market characteristics.

CLICK HERE to read the complete NCCI article.

Florida Chamber Releases 2020 Jobs Agenda

FLORIDA CHAMBER’S 2020 JOBS AGENDA

Keeping Florida’s Momentum Going and Predicting 200,000 New Jobs in 2020

“Making Florida more competitive is essential for job and economic growth.”

MARK WILSON, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce

TALLAHASSEE, FL (January 13, 2020) – Job creators are gathering in Tallahassee this week with optimism that Florida can keep the momentum going, create 200,000 new jobs this year, and strengthen Florida’s economy even more through actions by the Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis. Additionally, job creators have released the Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda, commonly referred to as the Florida Business Agenda, which highlights where the Florida Chamber stands on key legislative decisions. 

Business leaders from throughout Florida are gathering this week at the Capitol as part of the Florida Chamber’s Annual Legislative Fly-In, and are sharing the Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda which will help create jobs, lower the cost of living and lift incomes – with the belief that Florida’s best days are yet to come.

The Florida Chamber is uniting the business community for good to:

– Lower the Cost of Living,
-Reduce the Cost of Doing Business, and
-Better Prepare for Florida’s Future Growth.

These are ideas outlined in Florida’s 2030 Blueprint, commonly known as Florida’s next Strategic Plan.

“The Florida Chamber’s annual jobs and competitiveness agenda – the Florida Business Agenda – is a set of priorities that will help grow private sector jobs, continue to create economic opportunity in Florida and further diversify our economy,” said Charles Caulkins, Chair of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Partner at Fisher Phillips.

For the last nine years, Florida has outpaced the U.S. economy in job growth. As Florida will grow at approximately 900 new residents daily, Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish predicts that Florida will create 200,000 new jobs in 2020 and that the Sunshine State has a lower probability of recession than last year.

“If Florida was a stock, it would be considered a strong buy. While Florida’s economic outlook for 2020 is positive, it’s not without risks which is why passing the Florida Chamber’s Jobs Agenda is so important,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda Includes:

Lowering the Cost of Living:

Lawsuit abuse essentially amounts to additional taxes on Florida families over $4,000 each year. Florida’s lawsuit climate currently ranks 46 out of 50 in a national survey conducted by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.

  • The Florida Legislature should improve Florida’s legal climate by passing common-sense reforms to curtail abuse of Florida’s legal system.

“If we make the legal climate so it’s based on the clients rather than the attorneys, I think that would be a better climate,” Governor Ron DeSantis said when the national survey ranking Florida’s lawsuit climate among the nation’s worst was released.

Reducing Florida’s Cost of Doing Business:

Discouraging and anti-competitive tax policies, like the Florida-only business rent tax and lack of internet sales tax collection, make Florida less competitive.

  • The Florida Legislature should advance globally competitive tax policies by reducing the Business Rent Tax and modernizing Florida’s tax code to collect sales tax on internet transactions from out-of-state retailers.

Preparing for the Future Growth:

According to www.TheFloridaScorecard.org, there are 284,800 jobs looking for people and 323,000 people looking for jobs. Finding a qualified workforce is a top concern for job creators. Employers need talent that is prepared to enter the workforce, and Florida wins when we close the talent gap.

The Florida Legislature should:

  • Continue to focus on early learning, talent and workforce shortage solutions. 
  • Continue to support the legislatively-created Talent Development Council to develop a coordinated, data-driven, statewide approach to meeting Florida’s needs for a 21st century workforce that employers and educators use as part of Florida’s talent supply system. This also supports Governor DeSantis’s efforts to have the number one workforce in America.

By 2030, 4.5 million more residents will call Florida home. A growing Florida means a growing need for forward-thinking infrastructure investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, agriculture and other hard and soft infrastructure sectors.

The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition recommends that the Florida Legislature:

  • Continue to make long-term investments in energy, transportation, resiliency and water policy for Florida’s future.

Florida is currently experiencing a shortage of access to high-value, quality healthcare and that is a problem that will continue to grow as Florida’s population grows. That is why we support expanding scope of practice laws to allow for greater access to care, particularly in rural and underserved communities.

The Florida Chamber’s Healthcare Partnership encourages the Florida Legislature to:

  • Support expanding scope of practice for Advanced Practitioners and allow them to practice medicine to the full extent of their education and training.

“Year after year, the Florida Chamber has been at the forefront of solving issues that impact the competitiveness and future of Florida’s business climate. Our focus remains steadfast in our efforts to be the driving force uniting Florida’s business community for good, creating economic opportunity and growing jobs,” Wilson added.

The Florida Chamber will track each bill on the Florida Business Agenda, and votes will be used as the basis for grading lawmakers at the conclusion of the Legislative Session. We look forward to working with Governor DeSantis, Senate President Bill Galvano and Speaker of the House Jose Oliva to keep Florida’s momentum going.

The Florida Chamber’s 2020 Florida Business Agenda can be downloaded HERE.

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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 Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Workers’ Comp Rates Set to Drop 7.5 Percent in 2020

There’s good news to share about your workers’ compensation rates. Job creators will continue to see rates drop in 2020.

The Florida Chamber’s 15-year-long fight against high workers’ comp rates has helped lead to rates dropping by more than 65 percent over the years. Fixing Florida’s workers’ comp system is a Florida Chamber priority, and it has helped lead to Florida become one of the nation’s top business climates in the country.

And today, Florida insurance regulators approved a further rate reduction – decreasing rates by an average of 7.5 percent effective January 1, 2020 for new and renewal policies. Much of the decrease is due to an improved loss experience, a decline in the frequency of claims thanks to technology, safer workplaces, improved risk management and a change in industry makeup. These trends have more than offset the increase in attorney fees due to the 2016 Florida Supreme Court decision, Castellanos v. Next Door Company.

But we can’t let our guard down.

Just last week, Senate President Designate Wilton Simpson said during the Florida Chamber’s Future of Florida Forum that rates could be even lower if Florida hadn’t faced a $1.5 billion increase in system costs after the Court’s Castellanos decision.

That’s why the Florida Chamber’s Workers’ Comp Task Force is continuing to stand on the front lines in protecting workers, while also working to reduce cost drivers like attorney fees.

Share Your Advice

If you believe your workers’ comp rates are still too high, sign our petition today to join with job creators as we seek solutions to Florida’s workers’ comp system. Want to learn more about cost drivers in the workers’ comp system? Click HERE to see what the state has to say.

Florida’s Small Businesses Point to Workforce Quality as Top Concern Keeping Them Up at Night

Despite Concern, Job Creators Anticipate Higher Sales

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (October 22, 2019) — Even though Florida is outpacing the national average in jobs created, workforce quality continues to be the top concern among Florida small businesses, according to the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Fourth Quarter Small Business Index Survey. This is the 10th quarter out of 11 that small businesses have ranked this issue among their top concern. Despite this concern, job creators expect higher sales than last year.

“It is likely that Florida will continue to outpace the U.S. in terms of job growth in 2020,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist and Director of Research at the Florida Chamber Foundation. “Although Florida’s small businesses are not quite as optimistic about their outlook for the economy as in past surveys, 70 percent of them expect to have higher sales next year than during the previous year.” See additional commentary from Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish in his latest By The Numbers program.

While the probability of a recession is improving, according to the latest data on TheFloridaScorecard.org, economic uncertainty remains a top small business owner concern, survey results reveal. Despite this concern, Florida’s overall economy is robust and expanding, and in fact, it has become the 16th most diversified economy in the country, and unemployment numbers continue to decline.

The Florida Chamber’s Fourth Quarter Small Business Index Survey shows small businesses are most concerned about:

  1. Workforce Quality – 28%
  2. Economic Uncertainty – 14%
  3. Growth Management Process – 12%
  4. Healthcare Costs – 9%
  5. Government Regulation – 8%

Of Florida’s small businesses:

  • 49 percent of respondents expect the economy to improve over the next three years,
  • 41 percent of responders believe their business is better off now than it was just six months ago, and
  • 41 percent of businesses have plans to make investments in plants or equipment, down from 43 percent one year ago.

“Workforce quality continues to be the number one concern of Florida’s small businesses, with economic uncertainty coming in second,” said Glenda Hood, Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council, and Founding Partner, Hood Partners. “Small businesses are the foundation of Florida’s economy, and the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council remains committed to advocating on their behalf.”

About the Survey:

The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey was conducted electronically September 10 through October 14, 2019. Thirty-four percent of respondents employ less than five employees, while 49 percent employ five to 49 employees. Click HERE to view the full report.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, 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 Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

NCCI Seeks to Decrease Workers’ Compensation Rates

Florida Record, September 16, 2019

TALLAHASSEE — The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) has filed a proposed rate drop for workers’ compensation rates with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation for the third year in a row.

Florida Chamber of Commerce director of business, economic development and innovation policy Carolyn Johnson, however, said a number of factors are preventing further rate decreases.

“While workers’ comp rates will decrease for now, NCCI has made it clear that Florida Supreme Court decisions are exerting upward pressure on system costs. Workers’ comp carriers are experiencing increases in attorney fees, litigated claims are taking longer and generally costing more,” Johnson said in a statement provided to The Florida Record.

“These factors have reduced the potential further rate decrease that could have been provided to job creators.” 

Click here to read the entire article in the Florida Record.

2020 Florida Business Leaders’ Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity

Did you know more than 3 million Floridians live in poverty? Of those, more than 260,000 are under age 5.

Join business and industry leaders as well as elected officials and community voices us as we analyze a path to prosperity for each of Florida’s zip codes. We will also discuss best practices around the state, how they can be replicated and more. Conversations will also focus around 10 topic areas that the Florida Chamber Foundation’s research shows are: Jobs, Education, Housing, Health, Food, Safety, Child care, Justice, Transportation and Agency-Community voice.

Florida Business Leaders Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity
May 19, 2020
The Westin Sarasota
Sarasota, Florida

To have your logo featured here, click here or contact Aaron Kinnon at AKinnon@FlFoundation.org.

Your workers’ comp rates will decrease… for now

Workers’ Comp Rates Set to Decrease for Third Year, Attorney Fees Still a Problem

For more than 15 years, the Florida Chamber has been on the front lines, actively fighting to reduce workers’ compensation rates by more than 60 percent. Fixing Florida’s workers’ comp system has been key to becoming one of the nation’s top business climates.

Today the news got even better.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) filed a proposed 5.4 percent average decrease in workers’ comp rates. If approved by the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR), the new rates will take effect January 1, 2020 for new and renewal policies.

Today’s annual experience rate filing is the first where the majority of data analyzed comes after a 2016 Florida Supreme Court decision that eliminated the cap on attorney fees (Castellanos v. Next Door Company.) The rate decrease filing uses data from 2016 and 2017, and 90 percent of the policies examined became effective after that Supreme Court decision. As of right now, the favorable loss experience has offset the cost increases that have emerged from the court decision, but NCCI points out that the court decisions are exerting upward pressure on system costs.

An NCCI analysis of the impact of the Supreme Court decision in this rate decrease filing shows:

  1. That all workers’ comp carriers are reporting increases in claimant attorney fees, and that litigated claims are beginning to represent a relatively larger portion of claims compared to before the Supreme Court decision. Litigated claims take longer to close and are generally more expensive.
  2. Data from the Division of Administrative Hearings shows that attorney fees are representing a larger portion of benefit and settlement amounts. In 2014 and 2015, claimant attorney fees were 13 percent compared to benefits and settlements. In 2017, it increased to 19 percent, and in 2018, claimant attorney fees made up 22 percent compared to benefits and settlements.

Today’s proposed rate decrease is a result of improved loss experiences which has more than offset the increase in attorney fees. A decline in the frequency of claims is driven by technology, safer workplaces, improved risk management and a change in industry makeup.

While the upward pressure from attorney fees has not increased rates, it has reduced the potential rate decrease that could be afforded to Florida job creators. The majority of states are seeing rate decreases, with several states enjoying double-digit decreases.

However, because workers’ comp has a “long-tail” line, it could take several years for businesses to feel the full impact of the Florida Supreme Court Castellanos decision. That’s why the Florida Chamber’s Workers’ Comp Task Force continues to be engaged in protecting injured workers and reducing cost drivers like attorney fees.

Learn More This Thursday

Register for the Florida Chamber’s Workers’ Comp Task Force webinar this Thursday, August 29 at 4:00 p.m. to discuss today’s rate filing in detail with the National Council on Compensation Insurance and Senator Keith Perry.

Contact Carolyn Johnson at cjohnson@flchamber.com to register.

Join the Florida Chamber for our 2019 Insurance Summit

The time is NOW to connect with members of Florida’s business community, insurance professionals, elected officials and political insiders to engage in interactive discussions on emerging issues facing insurers, business leaders and consumers.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Names Representative Bob Rommel 2019 Most Valuable Legislator

Also Announces 18 Distinguished Advocate Award Recipients

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 20, 2019) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today awarded Representative Bob Rommel with the 2019 Most Valuable Legislator (MVL) award for his leadership in tackling Florida’s ‘Judicial Hellhole’ label. The MVL presentation was made during the Florida Chamber’s Board of Directors meeting in Orlando.

The Florida Chamber’s MVL award is the business community’s premier legislative award honoring a single lawmaker for their outstanding legislative leadership and willingness to take a stand for free enterprise.

“Representative Rommel championed and led ending Florida’s lawsuit abuse problem that is costing Florida’s families over $4,000 each year, and has earned Florida an international reputation as a ‘Judicial Hellhole,’” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, in a congratulatory video.

Upon news of the award, Representative Rommel said: “The Florida Chamber’s commitment to make sure Florida’s business community flourishes is unparalleled. I was very proud to work with them this year to advance and enact unprecedented business reform legislation that will unleash Florida entrepreneurs to grow, innovate, and create more jobs. I’m honored to receive this recognition from the Florida Chamber, and I look forward to our continued partnership.”

DISTINGUISHED ADVOCATE AWARD RECIPIENTS:
Additionally, the Florida Chamber Distinguished Advocate awards – recognizing lawmakers who fought tirelessly for the passage of pro-business legislation and advanced the Florida Chamber’s goals of securing Florida’s future through job creation and economic development – were announced.

“We’re pleased to recognize members of the Florida Legislature with the Distinguished Advocate awards who had the courage to put free enterprise principles for job creation above special interest,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The 18 members of the Florida Legislature honored with a 2019 Florida Chamber Distinguished Advocate award include:

HOW THEY VOTED

The Florida Chamber also released its annual publication How They Voted – which provides the grades for all 157 legislators so business leaders can see who voted for or against job creation and economic growth.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, 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 Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Releases 2019 Legislative Report Card

98 Lawmakers Earn A’s and B’s; 59 Earn C’s, D’s, and F’s

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 21, 2019) – Ninety-eight members of the Florida Legislature earned A’s or B’s on the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Legislative Report Card, and helped lower the cost of living and cost of doing business on families and job creators, while also preparing for future growth and protecting Florida’s constitution, the state’s leading voice of business and largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and business association partners announced today.

Many lawmakers earned higher grades this legislative session with their renewed focus on important competitiveness issues like:

  • Property insurance, lawsuit abuse, regulatory and targeted tax reforms,
  • Innovations in healthcare, and high-quality workforce education and apprenticeship programs, and
  • Key smart growth issues like transportation, energy grid hardening, and autonomous and innovations.

The Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card is an annual opportunity to recognize members of the Florida Legislature who placed making Florida more competitive through private-sector job creation, above special interests and their attempts to protect the status quo.

KEY DATA POINTS:
After tabulating more than 4,000 votes cast during the 2019 Legislative Session, data shows:

  • 98 lawmakers earned an A or B; 59 lawmakers earned a C, D or F.
  • Average GPA for both legislative chambers was 79.37 percent.
  • Senate GPA was 84.59 percent, up from 74 percent in 2018.
  • House GPA was 77.59 percent, down slightly from 79 percent in 2018.

“We believe in transparency and accountability, and the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card is a fantastic tool for families, small businesses, taxpayers and voters to know if their elected officials voted in support of lowering the cost of living and reducing the cost of doing business, while also preparing for Florida’s future,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

TRANSPARENT GRADING PROCESS:
The Florida Chamber’s legislative grading process is both transparent and accountable.

  • The Florida Business Agenda (FBA) was announced during a news conference prior to the 2019 Legislative Session which was attended by bicameral members of the legislature, and dozens of leaders from throughout Florida’s business community.
  • The Florida Business Agenda, outlined in Where We Stand, was hand delivered and mailed to each member of the Florida Legislature.
  • Florida Chamber leadership met with numerous newspaper editorial boards, and legislators and staff in advance of session.
  • Most importantly, prior to each vote graded on the report card, a “Your Vote Matters” letter outlining the pro-business position and the Florida Chamber’s intent to score the vote was transmitted to voting members of the legislature – in total, about 4,000 scored votes letters were transmitted in advance.

Stay Tuned:
The Florida Chamber will soon announce 2019 legislative awards, including Distinguished Advocates and the Florida Chamber’s premier legislative award, the Most Valuable Legislator award. Past winners can be found here.

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Marijuana Legalization Update: Five Things You Need to Know

Marijuana legalization continues to be a hot topic in 2019. Most states have legalized marijuana in some form, and there is much speculation around federal activity. NCCI is monitoring legislative, judicial, and other developments as this issue evolves. Our latest update addresses the top five questions on the minds of our workers compensation industry stakeholders.

  1. What is the status of marijuana legalization?Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level and remains classified as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. However, there is ongoing activity at the federal and state levels to address marijuana legalization and related issues. The current status of state marijuana legalization is shown in the map below:
    • Recreational marijuana is legal in 10 states plus DC
    • Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states plus DC
    • CBD oil/non-psychoactive forms of marijuana are legal in an additional 14 states under certain circumstances
    • Three states currently do not have laws legalizing marijuana in some form, but two of them (Kansas and Nebraska) have pending legislation
  2. What is happening legislatively in 2019?NCCI is tracking marijuana-related legislation in more than 20 states, as well as at the federal level.Federally, legislation to decriminalize marijuana is pending before Congress. Decriminalization at the federal level is viewed as unlikely in the short term. Meanwhile, Congress is also considering measures that allow for state regulation of marijuana without federal interference and provide protections to financial institutions that serve marijuana-related businesses that are legal under state law.Federal legislation providing protections to financial institutions is already advancing. On March 28, the House Financial Services Committee approved H.R. 1595, which provides financial institutions and insurers that provide services for legitimate cannabis-related businesses with a safe harbor from criminal prosecution.Regarding state legislative activity, as of April 1, an additional 15 states are considering legalizing recreational marijuana and 8 are considering legalizing medical marijuana. NCCI is also tracking several state bills addressing the issue of medical marijuana reimbursement in workers compensation.
  3. Are insurers required to reimburse for medical marijuana in workers compensation?One of the emerging workers compensation issues is whether medical marijuana is reimbursable. Insurers are increasingly receiving requests to reimburse for medical marijuana use for workers compensation treatment. Given the friction between state and federal law, states are faced with the challenge of whether to approve medical marijuana treatment for work-related injuries. This issue is being addressed through legislation as well as in the courts.Over the years, states such as Connecticut, Minnesota, New Mexico, and New York have permittedreimbursement for medical marijuana in certain circumstances. New Mexico has even established a maximum reimbursement amount for medical marijuana in its workers compensation fee schedule.Other states, including Florida and North Dakota, have enacted laws prohibiting payment of workers compensation benefits for medical marijuana. Louisiana passed legislation in 2018 which provided that medical marijuana reimbursement is not required for workers compensation purposes.During the 2019 legislative session, several states—including Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont—have considered or are considering legislation to authorize the reimbursement of medical marijuana in workers compensation.On the other hand, Kentucky and Oklahoma lawmakers proposed legislation similar to the Louisiana law, which does not prohibit reimbursement, but also does not affirmatively require employers and workers compensation insurers to pay for medical marijuana.
  4. Have there been any new rulings from the courts regarding medical marijuana reimbursement?In addition to state legislation, state courts are addressing the issue as to whether medical marijuana is reimbursable in workers compensation.In March 2019, the New Hampshire Supreme Court held that the state’s medical marijuana law does not prohibit reimbursement under workers compensation. However, the court did not rule that the insurer is required to reimburse. The supreme court remanded the case to the compensation appeals board to provide additional legal support on the federal issues involved in the case; specifically, whether federal law would be violated if the insurer is ordered to reimburse for the payment of medical marijuana.In 2018, the Maine Supreme Court ruled in the Bourgoin v. Twin Rivers Paper Co. case that employers are not required to reimburse for marijuana as a workers compensation treatment. The court determined that because marijuana remains illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act, Maine’s medical marijuana law is preempted and cannot be used as the basis to require reimbursement.The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents and the Vermont Department of Labor have also recently denied reimbursement for medical marijuana treatment for workers compensation claimants.
  5. Have there been any new developments regarding research studies or a test to determine impairment?One outstanding workers compensation issue is whether medical marijuana is a viable alternative to opioids for pain management and getting employees back to work sooner. Since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, research has been limited to date.Another outstanding issue is how to determine “impairment” for marijuana and the impact on workers compensation benefits if an employee is injured on the job and tests positive. There are efforts under way to develop tests similar to breathalyzers and other methods currently available to test blood alcohol levels, which would better help define what could be considered appropriate “impairment” levels.Until those tests are fully developed and implemented, states and state courts are addressing this issue on a case-by-case basis. For example, in November 2018 the Oklahoma state court of appeals ruled in Rose v. Berry Plastics Corp. that the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in an employee’s blood after a workplace accident does not automatically mean that the employee should be denied workers compensation benefits due to impairment.There is also pending legislation in Oklahoma (SB 305) which, among other things:
    • Clarifies instances in which an employer may take action against an employee or applicant who tests positive for marijuana
    • Provides that employers will not be required to permit or accommodate the use of medical marijuana on their premises or reimburse a person for costs associated with the use of medical marijuana
    • Authorizes employers to have written policies regarding drug testing and impairment

    The legislation has passed the Oklahoma Senate and is awaiting action in the House.NCCI will continue to track these developments. Stay tuned to ncci.com for updates on marijuana legislation and other hot topics throughout the year.

Florida Chamber Bottom Line: NCCI Is Leading the Way in Florida Worker’s Compensation Marketplace


In the latest Florida Chamber Bottom Line, Dawn Ingham, State Relations Executive for the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) discusses NCCI’s role in Florida’s workers’ compensation marketplace and the trends affecting this system.

“We’re seeing some positive trends affecting Florida’ workers compensation marketplace. Employment growth and wage growth here in Florida are higher than the national average,” Ingham said.

Making Florida More Competitive

Join business leaders, industry experts, elected officials and community leaders for the Florida Chamber’s Insurance Summit, and hear from and network with industry leaders on the important issues facing insurers, business leaders and consumers. Click here to be the first to know when registration opens.

Fixing Florida’s Workers’ Comp System

 

Download One Pager     Join the Workers Comp Task Force

 

Why It Matters to Florida

The Florida Chamber’s Workers’ Comp Task Force knows an unstable and unpredictable workers’ comp system leaves injured workers and job creators footing the bill. Business growth requires workers’ compensation premiums to be fair and not inflated by unnecessary costs, and an improved business climate overall will allow Floridians to get back to work and reduce the cost of living for families and small businesses.

Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda

From increases in rates by 14.5% due to cases ruled by the Florida Supreme Court (Castellanos v. Next Door Company and Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg) to a proposed decrease to 9.6%, the instability of the workers’ comp. system leaves attorneys and trial lawyers benefiting off injured workers.

Plaintiff attorney maneuvers like we’re seeing with workers’ comp. are reflective of a larger lawsuit abuse problem in Florida. In fact, according the American Tort Reform Association Florida is the worst legal climate in the nation, second only to California. And that’s important, because a state’s lawsuit environment is likely to impact important business decisions a such as where to locate a company or whether or not to expand.

Keeping our workers’ comp system fair and not inflated by trial lawyer tactics and other unnecessary costs will help lower the cost of doing business in Florida. The Florida Chamber has a long history of helping to keep Florida’s workers’ comp system working. As a result, workers’ comp rates were lowered by more than 60 percent in the last 15 years, and we will continue to fight for policies and workers’ comp reform that will reduce rates, protect injured workers and bring stability to the system.

The Fight for Free Enterprise Continues

With rates fluctuating significantly, the Florida Chamber is leading the effort to reform workers’ comp. To secure Florida’s future, we must keep Florida’s workers’ comp system working.

Act Now:

How are increased workers’ comp rates impacting your business? Let us know by contacting Carolyn Johnson at cjohnson@flchamber.com.

Making Florida More Competitive is Essential for Jobs and Economic Growth

 

Watch Our News Conference     Download Where We Stand

 

The 2019 Legislative Session begins in earnest next week, and as we prepare to enter this 60-day event, we are reminded that choices matter. The Florida Chamber of Commerce’s annual jobs and competitiveness policy agenda, commonly referred to as the Florida Business Agenda, is a set of priorities that will help grow private sector jobs, continue to create economic opportunity in Florida and further diversify our economy.

Year after year, the Florida Chamber has been on the front lines of solving issues that impact the competitiveness and future of Florida’s business climate. While time passes, our focus remains the same – to be the driving force in uniting Florida’s business community, creating economic opportunities and growing private-sector jobs.

In many ways, Florida is moving in the right direction; but the truth is, things are fragile. Political inaction and uncertainty, changing demographics and unprecedented amounts of out-of-state special interests pose a threat to Florida’s sustainability and competitiveness.

Making Florida more competitive is essential for economic growth and job creation, which is why the Florida Chamber is calling on lawmakers to reduce the cost of living, reduce the cost of doing business and to prepare for Florida’s future growth.

For more than eight years, Florida has outpaced the U.S. economy in job growth. Growing at just under 900 new residents daily, Florida Chamber Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish predicts that Florida will create 150,000 new jobs in 2019 and that the Sunshine State has a very low probability of recession.

I’ve often said that if Florida was a stock, I’d buy all the stock I could. While Florida’s economic outlook for 2019 is positive, it’s not without risks, which is why passing the Florida Chamber’s Jobs Agenda is so important.

 

Reducing the Cost of Living

When it comes to reducing the cost of living, the Florida Legislature should put consumers ahead of trial lawyers and finally end Assignment of Benefits (AOB) scams that the Wall Street Journal and others have consistently written about. I encourage you to learn more about AOB fraud and abuse by reading this Pensacola News Journal article that Harold Kim, COO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform and I recently published.

 

Lowering the Cost of Doing Business

To lower the cost of doing business, lawmakers must fix Florida’s broken lawsuit climate. Florida’s bottom-five legal climate translates to a $4,442 tax on Florida families. Click here to see what leaders from Allstate, Safelite, People’s Trust Insurance, and Ron Jon Surf Shop have to say about Florida’s “judicial hellhole.”

 

Preparing for Future Growth

With 26 million people expected to call Florida home by 2030, and three million more drivers on our roads, it’s important that Florida’s infrastructure is prepared for this future growth. Therefore the Florida Chamber and its Infrastructure Coalition recommend that lawmakers champion innovations and adequate funding in all modes of transportation, secure affordable, efficient and sustainable energy solutions, champion long-term, sustainable water and environmental policies and ensure proactive economic planning and development.

Further, preparing for future growth also means ensuring that we have a qualified workforce to close the talent gap. That’s why we will again encourage the legislature to prepare Florida’s workforce to address the skills gap, and improve attainment and access to higher education and post-secondary learning.

2019 Florida Business Agenda

During last week’s 2019 Legislative Fly-In we had the opportunity to share your 2019 Florida Business Agenda with Governor Ron DeSantis and members of the Florida Legislature, the Cabinet and state agency leaders. Chief among guest speakers were Governor DeSantis, who hosted Legislative Fly-In attendees at a reception at the Governor’s Mansion, Attorney General Ashley Moody, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Ken Lawson, Florida Department of Transportation Senior Policy Advisor Doug Callaway, Representative Chris Sprowls and Senators Wilton Simpson and Joe Gruters.

Each week during the legislative session, you’ll receive the Florida Chamber’s Weekly Legislative Update and learn the latest on how the Florida Business Agenda is fairing. When important “pro-biz” votes are scheduled, we’ll reach out and encourage you to share your support with lawmakers. And when there are bad “no-biz” bills that may force additional employer mandates on job creators, we’ll be there to push back against those who want free enterprise to fail.

Thank you for your support of free enterprise and in us.

Florida Chamber’s 2019 Jobs Agenda

Keeping Florida’s Momentum Going and Predicting 150,000 New Jobs in 2019

 

“Making Florida more competitive is essential for job and economic growth.” – Mark Wilson

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (February 20, 2019) – Job creators gathering in Tallahassee today expressed their optimism that the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Jobs Agenda is largely aligned with Governor Ron DeSantis and legislative leaders, and they look forward to another positive year of job gains and strengthened momentum.

Business leaders from throughout Florida are in the Capital City as part of the Florida Chamber’s 2019 Legislative Fly-In and are sharing the 2019 Jobs Agenda, which will help Florida create at least 150,000 new jobs this year.

Good jobs and economic growth are essential to Securing Florida’s Future. The Florida Chamber is calling on lawmakers to make Florida more competitive by:

• Lowering the Cost of Living,
• Reducing the Cost of Doing Business, and
• Preparing for the Future Growth.

“The Florida Chamber’s annual jobs and competitiveness agenda – commonly known as the Florida Business Agenda – is a set of priorities that will help grow private sector jobs, continue to create economic opportunity in Florida and further diversify our economy,” said Bob Grammig, Chair, Florida Chamber Board of Directors and Partner, Holland & Knight.

For the last eight years, Florida has outpaced the U.S. economy in job growth. Growing at just under 900 net new residents daily, Florida Chamber Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish predicts that Florida will create 150,000 new jobs in 2019 and that the Sunshine State has a very low probability of recession.

“If Florida was a stock, it would be considered a strong buy. While Florida’s economic outlook for 2019 is positive, it’s not without risks which is why passing the Florida Chamber’s Jobs Agenda is so important,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The Florida Chamber’s 2019 Jobs Agenda Includes:

Lowering the Cost of Living:
Due in large part to fraud and related trial lawyer tactics (Assignment of Benefits scams), Floridians currently pay the second highest auto insurance rates, and 90 percent of homeowners are facing rate increases in their property insurance rates. It’s time for lawmakers to put consumers ahead of trial lawyers.

  • The Florida Legislature should put consumers ahead of trial lawyers and finally end AOB scams that the Wall Street Journal and others have consistently written about.

Reducing Florida’s Cost of Doing Business:
Florida’s bottom five legal environment is an open invitation for “gotcha” lawsuits that cost Florida families more than $4,442 each year.

  • The Florida Legislature should fix Florida’s broken lawsuit climate.

Discouraging and discriminatory tax policies, like the Florida-only business rent tax and internet sales tax, are uncompetitive.

  • The Florida Legislature should advance globally competitive tax policies by reducing the Business Rent Tax and fixing the internet sales tax situation.

Continue fighting for policies and workers’ comp reforms that keep workers safe, fairly compensates workers when they’re injured and brings stability and predictability to the market.

  • The Florida Legislature should fix Florida’s workers’ compensation system before rates begin to explode again.

Preparing for the Future Growth:

In Florida, there are 335,000 people looking for jobs and 273,700 jobs looking for people. Finding a qualified workforce is a top concern for job creators. Employers need talent that is prepared to enter the workforce, and Florida wins when we close the talent gap.

The Florida Legislature should:

  • Prepare Florida’s workforce to address Florida’s skills gap.
  • Improve attainment and access to higher education and post-secondary learning.

By 2030, 5 million more residents will call Florida home. A growing Florida means a growing need for smarter infrastructure investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, agriculture and other hard and soft infrastructure sectors.

The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition recommends that the Florida Legislature:

  • Champion innovations and adequate funding in all modes of transportation
  • Secure affordable, efficient and sustainable energy solutions
  • Champion long-term, sustainable water and environmental policies
  • Ensure proactive economic planning and development

“Year after year, the Florida Chamber has been at the forefront of solving issues that impact the competitiveness and future of Florida’s business climate. Our focus remains steadfast in our efforts to be the driving force uniting Florida’s business community, creating economic opportunity and growing jobs,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Joining the Florida Chamber in releasing its 2019 Jobs Agenda were members of the Florida Legislature.

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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 Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.