Florida insurance regulators on Tuesday tentatively approved a 14.5 percent increase in workers' compensation insurance rates. Industry representatives had sought a 19.6 percent hike.
The National Council on Compensation Insurance, an industry group authorized to make rate filings on behalf of workers' comp insurers, hinged much of its rate request on the impact of a Florida Supreme Court decision in April that declared a mandatory cap on attorneys' fees for such cases was unconstitutional.
Workers' advocates had hailed the court's ruling, saying the cap had dissuaded lawyers from taking cases on behalf of injured Floridians, leaving them with little relief. Plaintiffs' attorneys said they've been fighting for years for workers to have better access to the courts to argue their cases — and the high court's decision validated that effort.
Some business leaders described it another way — as a potential job killer both for existing companies and those considering a move to Florida.
The approval is contingent on the NCCI making an amended filing by Tuesday. The new rates would be effective Dec. 1 for both new and renewal policies.