Florida: Insurance officials say state WC market competitive, stable
The 2009 Workers' Compensation Annual Report analyzed the availability and affordability of coverage for workers' comp insurance in Florida for the calendar year 2008 and concluded that the state's market is headed in the right direction. The report found that the Florida market features 251 entities writing workers' comp, which included 246 private insurers, four self-insurance funds, and the Florida Workers' Compensation Joint Underwriting Association. The residual market -- the FWCJUA -- had 826 policies as of November 2009 with corresponding premiums of $5.7 million. Officials said this is a fraction of Florida's overall workers' comp premium, which reported a total of $2.3 billion in written premiums in 2008, ranking the state fifth nationally.
"The 2009 report clearly demonstrates that Florida's 2003 legislative reforms, combined with the Legislature's passage of House Bill 903 that restored caps on attorney's fees, have continued to lead to declines in workers' compensation rates and stability in the marketplace," said Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty. "This is especially important for Florida businesses given the current economic environment."
Officials noted in the report that while availability does not appear to be a significant concern in the aggregate, small businesses, new firms, and construction companies may face some market shortfalls in the voluntary market.
"The residual market is small, suggesting that the voluntary market is absorbing the vast majority of demand," the report stated. "While not without risk, the growth of the use of professional employment organizations among smaller employers has, as well, helped availability by making coverage affordable."
In late October, McCarty issued a final order approving the National Council on Compensation Insurance's amended rate filing for workers' comp rates. The 6.8 percent rate decrease, which went into effect Jan. 1, marked the seventh annual consecutive drop in workers' comp rates.
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January 28, 2010
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