Florida’s top insurance regulator said Wednesday that he has no plans to hold a public hearing on the National Council on Compensation Insurance’s request to levy an assessment against employers to establish a catastrophic fund for workers compensation.
“I don’t think we are going to have a hearing on that,” Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier said when asked about NCCI’s filing over the summer to establish a catastrophe fund. “If it appears that one would be appropriate, then we’ll have one. But at this time, we are not planning on having one.”
Altmaier would not say whether he was inclined to approve or to reject the NCCI filing.
“I can’t say,” Altmaier told Florida Politics. “It’s still pending.”
NCCI proposes rates for workers’ compensation insurance carriers and makes filings with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. NCCI has recommended the OIR reduce rates for workers compensation coverage by an average 4.9% beginning Jan. 1.
Altmaier told members of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee the agency would schedule a public meeting on the proposed 4.9% reduction in workers compensation rates. If approved, employers’ workers compensation rates would be reduced by nearly 70% since 2003, the commissioner said. At press time, the OIR had not published a meeting date or time for the proposed rate filing.
But NCCI made a separate filing this summer asking the OIR to approve a proposed rule change that would authorize a separate assessment on employers’ premiums that would generate $20 million annually.
The additional revenue would be used to fill a catastrophic fund that would help cover the costs of workers compensation claims triggered by a catastrophe resulting in $50 million in aggregate workers’ compensation losses across all states.
In the July 23 filing, NCCI said the fund was necessary in order to keep the workers’ compensation system in Florida funded in case of a catastrophic event.
“The exposure to catastrophic workers’ compensation claims losses exists in Florida,” NCCI said in a July 23 informational bulletin explaining its request. “The COVID-19 pandemic is the most recent catastrophic event impacting the workers’ compensation system.”