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Red Flag For Florida's Workers Comp Market

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Florida Office of Insurance Regulation

Insurance regulators say Florida's workers-compensation insurance market is competitive, but are expressing concerns about future rates and legal challenges.

The annual report released Friday by the state Office of Insurance Regulation said rates have gone down 60.3 percent since lawmakers in 2003 passed a major overhaul of the workers-compensation system. That included a 4.7 percent reduction that took effect Jan. 1. But the report indicates the effects of the 2003 law might have played out.

"As of January 1, 2016, the voluntary market rates have declined by 60.3 percent since the 2003 reform legislation was passed indicating the reform has delivered the desired result and lowered costs dramatically in the state,'' the report said.

"It is likely, however, the impact of these reforms has reached its limit. There is some concern, however, about the direction of workers' compensation rates in Florida and the ability of the state to retain its important economic competitive advantage in this area."

Also pending at the Florida Supreme Court are three legal challenges to the 2003 law. If the Supreme Court strikes down all or parts of the law, officials say insurance rates could increase.