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Press Release

Office Of Insurance Regulation Receives Latest Workers’ Compensation Rate Filing
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Contact: Bob Lotane - 850/ 413-2515
Tami Torres - 850/ 413-2842

Tallahassee (8/26/2004) - The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has received the latest rate filing for insurers who write workers' compensation coverage in the state. The filing calls for an overall rate reduction of 2.3 percent. This follows last year's rate decrease of 14 percent which followed the significant reforms made to the workers' compensation system, as a result of Senate Bill 50A, during the 2003 legislative session.

The new filing will be subject to review by OIR and will include a public hearing to be scheduled for the beginning of October. While cautioning that the new rates have yet to be reviewed, Florida Commissioner of Insurance Regulation Kevin McCarty welcomed the "apparent and continuing trend toward more moderate rates for Florida's businesses and industries. One of the most important contributions that can be made toward continuing Florida's economic expansion is to keep improving the workers' compensation system."

One of the most significant figures in the NCCI filing is the reduction of workers' compensation rates for contractors by 9.2 percent overall. Much of this decrease is attributed to Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher's worker's compensation compliance efforts, including sweeps of construction sites to verify compliance with insurance laws.

"Many of the costs in the system are generated by those who are not playing by the rules," Gallagher said. "If we root out the cheaters, we will lower the costs for those who are doing the right thing."
Just this week, the Department Of Financial Services' Division of Workers Compensation levied a $2.4 million fine against a Boca Raton contractor who carried no workers' comp insurance for up to three years. Two of his workers died following a July construction site accident.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc (NCCI), which formulates rates for workers' compensation insurers in Florida, made the filing for rates to be effective January 1, 2005 for new and renewal policies. NCCI points out that this newest rate decrease was not driven by the SB 50A reforms, but was based primarily on claims generated pre-reform. Next year's data will include more data created after SB 50A was instituted and, therefore, will be far more reflective of impacts generated by the reforms.