Bouchard Insurance has been actively monitoring the legislation of workers compensation and the potential impact to our commercial clients. Below is a brief summary to keep you informed.
The past 8 months - In October of 2016, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) approved a rate increase of 14.5%. The rate increase would apply to new and renewal workers compensation policies starting 12/1/16. The approved rate increase was a reaction to the outcome of Castellanos v. Next Door Co. and Westphal v City of St. Petersburg. On 11/23/16, a Tallahassee circuit court judge invalidated the rate increase, alleging NCCI and the OIR violated Florida’s Sunshine Law. The OIR filed an appeal stating the judge’s order is automatically stayed, allowing for the rate increase to go into effect as planned.
The present – We are currently awaiting a final decision from the appellate court on whether or not the rate making process will stand. In the meantime, uncertainty looms within the workers compensation marketplace. Insurance companies believe the 14.5% increase was warranted due to the potential rise in claims costs in the workers compensation system. As a reaction, a handful of insurance carriers have filed their own specific rates with the state in 2017. The OIR has approved these carriers to file their own rates at the same schedule as the filing that NCCI & the OIR approved in October, 2016. If the appeal regarding the NCCI rate filing is rejected, insurance carriers that did not file specific rates could be forced to reverse the rates back to the prior NCCI filing and by doing so would have to return premiums to the policyholders retroactive to 12/1/16. Regardless, the uncertainty of the appeal has caused unrest with the insurance companies and the final decision could cause volatility in the Florida workers compensation system. We will continue to monitor the outcome of the appeal. Bouchard Insurance is positioned well to respond to any decision made in the process and we will always pursue the best outcome for our clients.
If you have any questions, please reach out to your Sales Executive or our team for more information at 800.966.6481.