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NCCI Files for Lower Workers Comp Premiums

Workers compensation insurance rates would go down 6.8 percent under a proposed decrease filed Thursday by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, which makes rate filings for the industry.

NCCI cited two main factors in filing for the decrease: a drop in the frequency of workers comp claims and a continuing decrease in the average claim cost. A hearing is expected before insurance regulators in October.

The decrease would be effective Jan. 1, 2010.

Officials in the Office of Insurance Regulation said regulators received the filing late Thursday and had begun a review. Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty didn't yet have a comment on the filing.

The last change to workers compensation premiums was on July 1, when a previous 6.4 percent increase was rolled back after lawmakers restored a limit on how much plaintiffs attorneys can earn in comp cases. Last year, the Supreme Court threw out plaintiffs lawyers fee schedule, leading to the increase. The Legislature then reinstated a fee cap in the spring and the increase was rolled back.

Taking out that issue, workers compensation rates have gone down dramatically since 2003 when the Legislature created the fee cap and cracked down on fraud. Rates have dropped by nearly 20 percent in some years since then.

The cumulative decrease in workers compensation insurance premiums in that period has exceeded 60 percent in several industries. For example, the cumulative drop in premiums for building contractors since 2003 has been 65.4 percent, NCCI said.

If the filing is approved by regulators, contractors would see the biggest drop in rates at 10.8 percent, according to the NCCI filing.

NCCI, based in Boca Raton, files workers compensation rates for the industry.

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