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NFIB/Florida joins groups opposed to workers’ comp hike

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The National Federation of Independent Business/Florida is adding its voice to the business groups decrying a proposed 17 percent hike in the cost of workers’ compensation insurance to employers.

The rate increase “is a $623 million tax on workers in Florida that will go primarily to workers’ compensation attorneys,” NFIB/Florida Executive Director Bill Herrle said in a statement.

“For the sake of Florida’s small businesses and the millions they employ, this cannot stand,” he added. “The filing is the tip of the iceberg.”

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) last week asked the state to consider a 17 percent rate hike in the cost of workers’ comp to employers. Workers’ comp is mandated by states to pay workers who get hurt on the job.

The council submitted its filing to the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) on Friday.

If approved, it would take effect Aug. 1.

That would collectively cost Florida businesses roughly $623 million and make the Sunshine State the costliest in the southeast part of the country to buy such insurance, according to the NCCI’s news release.

The council is “a licensed rating organization authorized to make rate filings on behalf of workers’ compensation insurance companies in Florida,” according to the OIR.

The organization directly attributed most of the increase to a Florida Supreme Court decision, Castellanos v. Next Door Company, which struck down Florida’s workers’ compensation law’s legal fee schedule as unconstitutional.

Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Chamber of Commerce also have come out in opposition to the increase.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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