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Repealing PIP, implementing Amendment 4 top priorities for Jeff Brandes in 2017

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Sen. Jeff Brandes will once again file legislation to repeal the state’s no-fault auto insurance requirement, saying it’s time for Florida to move away from the troubled system. The St. Petersburg Republican said repealing the state’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) system will be one of his top priorities during the 2017 legislative session. The decision to file the bill comes just a few months after a study revealed Floridians could save an average $81 a car if the state drops…

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State issues final order for workers’ comp cost increase

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As expected, state insurance regulators have issued a final order jacking up the price of worker’s compensation insurance by nearly 15 percent. The order was published Thursday. The decision approves the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) request “for an overall combined statewide average rate increase of 14.5 percent,” the Office of Insurance Regulation said in a press release. The rate hike, which applies to new and renewal policies, is effective Dec. 1. The increase continues to be bitterly opposed by business groups. The…

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Bill Herrle: Worker’s comp hike hurts small biz

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NFIB/Florida Executive Director Bill Herrle on Wednesday criticized workers’ compensation insurers for pushing through a 14.5 percent rate increase this month. Herrle called the increase “massive” and said it would “undoubtedly hurt small businesses by threatening their ability to keep their doors open and employ Floridians.” The National Federation of Independent Business calls itself “the nation’s leading small-business advocacy group,” according to its website. State regulators approved a 14.5 percent increase in workers’ compensation insurance premiums. The new rates, however, are lower than ones initially proposed by…

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David Altmaier unsure on Obamacare’s future in Florida

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Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier won’t commit to an answer on Obamacare being a long-term solution to the Sunshine State’s health insurance needs. When asked Tuesday whether the insurance regime set up by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could be salvaged, Altmaier said “that will take a little bit more conversation; I don’t know that I’m ready to say one way or the other.” The commissioner spoke with reporters after his appearance at a Florida Cabinet meeting. Earlier this month, the Office…

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No deadline for decision on big workers’ comp hike

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A public hearing this week represented a major battle in the war over a proposed major increase in workers’ compensation insurance premiums, but the fighting is by no means over. The Office of Insurance Regulation will accept public comments on the proposed 19.6 percent hike until close of business Aug. 23. “While there is no defined period of review, the office will take the time that is necessary to come to a fully informed decision,” spokeswoman Any Bogner said via…

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Attorneys defend Florida Supreme Court decision on workers’ comp rate increase

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Trial attorneys mounted an ardent defense Tuesday of Florida Supreme Court rulings blamed by business interests for threatening an increase in workers’ compensation insurance premiums of nearly 20 percent. Mark Touby, a Coral Gables attorney who helped persuade the justices to eliminate a limit on attorney fees in workers’ compensation cases, insisted during a public hearing that claimants wouldn’t need to hire lawyers if insurance companies played fair. “The carriers are the ones making these decisions. They wrongfully denied benefits…

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Open government activists back legal challenge to worker’s comp rate increase

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A leading open-government advocate offered strong support Monday for a legal challenge to a proposed workers’ compensation insurance premium increase of nearly 20 percent. “I think he’s got a cause of action,” First Amendment Foundation President Barbara Peterson said of Miami attorney James Fee, who is challenging the rate hike on open-government grounds. Fee filed suit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court last week alleging that the National Council on Compensation Insurance broke state open meetings and open-records laws when calculating its…

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