Circuit Court Ruling Adds to Workers’ Compensation Rate Uncertainty
In response to rulings of the Florida Supreme Court earlier this year, the National Council on Compensation Insurance submitted a rate filing proposing a rate increase of more than 19%. However, after a public hearing and review by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, the OIR ultimately approved a 14.5% statewide average rate increase. The rate change was supposed to take effect December 1, but a recent ruling by a Leon County Circuit Court judge has thrown Florida’s workers’ compensation rates into a state of uncertainty.
Circuit judge Karen Gievers ruled on November 23 that the new workers’ compensation rates cannot go into effect because NCCI did not comply with Florida’s Sunshine Law. Judge Gievers found that NCCI did not comply with requirements under which the rating organizations should have held public hearings relating to the proposed rates. She also found that the NCCI and the OIR held meetings relating to the proposed rates that should been subject to the Sunshine Law.
NCCI released a statement following the ruling expressing disappointment and indicating it will challenge the decision. “We continue to believe that NCCI and the Florida OIR have fully complied with the law,” the statement said. “NCCI plans to appeal the trial court’s decision.”