The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has scheduled a rate hearing on Oct. 14 to publicly discuss the proposed 4.9% reduction in workers compensation rates filed by the National Council on Compensation Insurance on Aug. 30.
The rate hearing will be held virtually despite a public health advisory from Gov. Ron DeSantis in April calling for the government to resume face-to-face meetings. OIR spokesperson Alexis Bakofsky said NCCI has travel restrictions and the hearing is being held virtually at NCCI’s request.
The public can comment on the proposal by attending a webinar or by telephone by calling a toll free number. Additionally, the public can submit written comments to the OIR via email.
NCCI submitted the proposed average 4.9% rate reduction on behalf of Florida workers compensation insurance carriers earlier in the summer. The proposal is just a recommendation and must be approved by the state’s top insurance regulator, David Altmaier.
In announcing the proposed reduction, NCCI said in a prepared release that it also was asking state insurance regulators to approve the establishment of a catastrophe fund for workers compensation insurance. NCCI wants the state to authorize what would amount to an annual $20 million assessment to monetize the fund.
In a statement to Florida Politics, Bakofsky said the “primary” focus of the rate hearing is to take testimony from NCCI and to receive public comment. “Discussion about the other pending NCCI filing is certainly possible,” the statement said.
Altmaier told Florida Politics in September that he didn’t anticipate scheduling a public meeting on the request for the catastrophe fund.
Worker’s compensation is a system where workers who are injured on the job can receive benefits such as medical care, lost wages and permanent disability. In exchange, employers are prevented from being sued in civil court for causing the injuries.
While it’s meant to be a self-executing system, injured workers often hire attorneys to secure benefits.