Business is big in Florida and we are always looking for ways to bring new businesses to the Sunshine State and striving to create the perfect economic environment for our current businesses to expand and create jobs.
As a business-friendly state, Florida has worked hard to make sure employers and their employees are well taken care of under its workers’ compensation system. However, recent decisions by the Florida Supreme Court in Castellanos and Westphal have declared the workers’ compensation system unconstitutional, leaving Florida’s employers and employees vulnerable to a system that is on the verge of finding itself right where it was in 2003 with some of the highest workers’ compensation rates in the nation.
Currently, Florida’s insurers are looking at a 14.5 percent workers’ compensation rate increase for new and renewal policies, and NCCI estimates that over $1 billion in unfunded liabilities are slated to be assumed by the insurance industry.
To protect Florida employers and employees, AIF has created the ‘Florida Workers’ Compensation Strategic Task Force,’ which will be chaired by AIF President & CEO Tom Feeney, with esteemed members of Florida’s business community, including:
- Small Employer: Bill Herrle with the National Federation of Independent Business
- Large Employer: Marc Salm with Publix Supermarkets
- Domestic Insurance Carrier: Tom Koval with FCCI Insurance Group
- National Insurance Carrier: Jeff Fenster with AmTrust Financial Services
- Health Care Provider: Mike Costello with Tenet Healthcare
- Representing Injured Workers: Jim Tolley with Florida Professional Firefighters and Matt Puckett with Florida Police Benevolent Association
The task force will continue the collaborative efforts that began in Summer 2016 with the Helping Florida Work Town Hall meetings held across the state. The study commission will be considering all aspects of the Workers’ Compensation Act in Florida to restore a stable, self-executing and affordable system to care for injured workers.
We must relieve as soon as possible the pressure on rates, while simultaneously searching for the optimal policies to protect injured workers and have rates that promote job growth and prosperity. Injured workers must be allowed to get healthier; not trial lawyers allowed to get wealthier.
Help Florida Work by preserving Florida’s vital workers’ compensation system.
“I appreciate that Associated Industries of Florida is working to develop a broad collection of ideas on this issue that is so critical to the economic success of Florida and the health and well-being of the Florida Workforce. I look forward to continued conversations on an issue that will undoubtedly play a primary role in our upcoming legislative session, much as it did more than a decade ago.” ~ CFO Jeff Atwater said during the announcement of this critical task force that represents the employer community, insurance carriers and injured workers.