Volatility in Workers Compensation Florida Rates 2019 Continues
This year the Workers Compensation Florida Rates 2019 are moving in a positive direction for small business owners. The Florida Insurance Commissioner, David Altmaier, has approved a revised workers compensation rate filing of 13.9 % decrease. According to Altmaier, ‘The rate increase amounts to approximately $454 million in savings for employers’. This is especially good news because the Florida Workers Compensation System has been in flux for the past few years.
Why have the Workers Compensation Florida Rates 2019 Been in Flux?
This decrease comes after an increase for Workers Compensation Florida Rates 2018. There have been several years of instability within the workers compensation system in Florida. In 2017 there was an increase of 14.5%. This increase was attributed to two state Supreme Court decisions that have put the system in flux. Those two cases were – Castellanos v. Next Door Company and Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg.
In the Castellanos Case an injured employee sued and the case was taken all the way to the state supreme court. The supreme court ruling was ruled invalid because it limited the ability of an injured worker to get reasonable amount in judgments for attorneys fees. Basically the ruling meant judges no longer had to stick to strict guidelines when ruling on workers compensation cases.
In the Westphal Case, there was a rule that was challenged that a 104-week statutory limitation on temporary total disability benefits is unconstitutional. The court ruled this portion of the law unconstitutional because it denied injured workers proper access to the courts. The Florida Supreme Court extended this period to a 260-week limitation. This 260-week limit is more in line with states throughout the country.
These two court cases caused the initial increase in workers comp premium throughout the state of Florida. Since this increase there have been three decreases every six months. Those decreases were in November of 2017 for 9.5%, in May of 2018 1.8%, and this 13.9% decrease set to go in to effect January of 2019. These decreases have contributed to the volatility of Workers Compensation Florida Rates. For the time being, 2019 will be a year when small businesses will benefit from lower rates on workers comp premium for the time being.