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State seeks answers on workers’ comp market

The state Department of Financial Services announced Wednesday it intends to pay $195,000 to the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute to study how Florida’s workers’ compensation insurance market is performing compared to other states.

The department contends the nonprofit institute is the “only known entity” that published independent data for 15 to 20 other large states that participate in the study.

According to the state, “stakeholders … benefit from research that assists in monitoring the effects of legislation and administrative changes and from the comparison of legislative and administrative strategies of other states to better forecast necessary policy changes.”

Business groups pushed the Legislature to act on workers’ compensation insurance issues in 2017 after the Florida Supreme Court ruled that restrictive attorney fee caps were unconstitutional. Business groups warned that rates would skyrocket if lawmakers didn’t act.

The Legislature didn’t make changes, and rates did not increase. Headed into the 2018 Session, workers’ compensation seemed to continue to be a priority for business groups.

But in a surprise move, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida and 15 other organizations sent a letter to members of the state House asking that they not consider changes during the session.

The groups warned that changes could be “premature and ultimately, inadequate.”

The Department of Financial Services posted its intent to enter the contract with the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

The News Service of Florida provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other civic leaders with comprehensive, objective information about the activities of state government year-round.

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