Washington, DC – Ron Jackson, Southeast Region Vice President for the American Insurance Association (AIA), issued the following statement in response to the National Council on Compensation Insurance’s (NCCI) amended Florida workers’ compensation filing of a 14.5% rate increase. The amended rate filing came after the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation rejected NCCI’s initial proposal of a 19.6% rate increase earlier this year. The filings were in direct response to two recent Florida Supreme Court rulings, Bradley Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg et al, and Castellanos v. Next Door Co., the latter of which undid workers’ compensation attorney fee reforms that were a key reason workers’ compensation rates in Florida have been reduced by 60.3 percent (PDF) since 2003.
Mr. Jackson’s statement follows:
“NCCI’s amended filing of a 14.5% rate hike emphasizes the urgent need for the Legislature to reverse the harmful effects of the Castellanos and Westphal decisions. In particular, the Castellanos decision overturned reasonable parameters on claimant attorney fees that fairly regulate costs in Florida and many other states with similar laws, in favor of what has proved to be an uncapped approach that unjustly enriches those attorneys and will inevitably plunge the workers’ compensation system into the type of crisis that necessitated the 2003 reforms.
AIA will be working with interested parties and policymakers to ensure that Florida’s workers’ compensation system strikes a fair balance between claimants, employers and insurers, in order to preserve the state’s economic competitiveness.”