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NCCI vows to fight lawsuit over Florida workers comp rate hike

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The head of the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. said the organization is looking forward to defending against a lawsuit accusing it and Florida insurance regulators of developing a controversial rate hike for workers comp coverage in secret. 

In November, a Florida Circuit Court judge voided a 14.5% rate hike after finding that NCCI and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation did not follow open meetings laws when they came up with the controversial rate hike. However, the increase took effect on Dec. 1 after the judge’s order was appealed to the 1st District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida in Tallahassee and a 10-day stay was granted — further developments could occur as early as Monday. 

“We don’t know the outcome of this matter, but we’re going to remain actively engaged in defending the lawsuit,” NCCI President and CEO William Donnell said Monday at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ fall meeting in Miami. “NCCI continues to believe that (Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier) and the OIR have fully complied with the law, and we look forward to presenting our case to the appellate court. We made the Florida filing and all supporting information publicly available. The OIR held a full public hearing and considered testimony and full written comments from the public prior to issuing the rate ruling.” 

A 19.6% rate hike was initially filed in response to separate Florida Supreme Court decisions earlier this year that found the state’s attorney fee schedule violated due process under state and federal law and Florida’s 104-week cap on temporary total disability benefits was unconstitutional.

“One, we are on top of a very dynamic and evolving situation,” Mr. Donnell said. “And number two, we hold ourselves to very high standards and we follow the law.”