Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier has scarce opportunity to bust Florida workers&#039 comp cartel – SaintPetersBlog (web site)

Florida’s new insurance commissioner has a scarce, significant and significant-stakes possibility to earn his chops and build his believability for decades to come.

He can exhibit he has the mettle to stand up to the insurance marketplace to the benefit of equally consumers and the business local community.

How generally does that come about?

Just a few months into his tenure in just one of the most consequential work in Florida, state Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier can flex his regulatory muscle mass and verify his resolve to stand up for performing Floridians and individuals who make use of them.

The solution is basic, recognized by precedent and long-overdue: Altmaier can bust up the insurance cartel that is the Nationwide Council on Payment Insurance (NCCI), guaranteeing true cost opposition inside of Florida’s workers’ compensation system.

NCCI, the organization that proposes workers’ comp costs for Florida, just lately filed a ask for for a 17.one percent rate raise — then hiked it to practically 20 percent, its 2nd-largest rate raise ask for because 1999.

To estimate the late baseball wonderful Yogi Berra, “It’s déjà vu all above all over again.”

Back in 1997, then-Insurance Commissioner Monthly bill Nelson pushed unsuccessfully to conclude Florida’s fifty percent-century connection with NCCI to force down rates, suggesting other firms be permitted to compete for its features. Nelson was visionary.

In recent decades, several other states, which includes South Carolina and New York, have opened up their workers’ compensation insurance markets to true rate opposition, and executing so recognized substantial price savings.

In the meantime, Florida still tolerates an antiquated system in which an NCCI board stacked with insurance executives sets a rate to provide as a floor for workers’ compensation insurers — in other terms, they can not demand much less.

Documentation to validate the submitting is largely guarded from community scrutiny, with NCCI citing “trade secrets” as an justification to protect the data. How could an entity that has no opposition claim trade secrets and, even much more, how could regulators acknowledge that claim?

When New York opened up its workers’ comp system in 2013 to legitimate rate opposition, the state’s business local community noticed costs drop 30 percent above two decades, conserving companies much more than $45 million.

In distinction, the proposed rate hike here would make Florida just one of the costliest states for companies to invest in workers’ comp insurance. Which is cash that could usually be used for work generation.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce warns that a practically 20 percent rate hike would induce uncertainty amongst Florida work creators — the tiny corporations that make two out of each individual a few work.

Altmaier should really adhere to the illustration of the South Carolina Insurance Section, which challenged NCCI’s requested 23.seven percent rate hike in 2007 and finally settled on a considerably much more acceptable nine.eight percent raise. That shift saved South Carolina corporations about $a hundred thirty million.

Here’s a no-brainer: What if Florida just says no?

How about using NCCI out of the rate-generating driver’s seat, opening up Florida to true rate opposition as other states have carried out contacting NCCI’s bluff?

That would make Altmaier a hero to equally hurt workers who rely on a correctly working workers’ compensation system and companies who need to have their labor force to get back to get the job done.

It is a scarce moment when an insurance commissioner can satisfy equally the lion and the lamb — all by getting the fox out of the henhouse.

Opinions

remarks