Workers’ Compensation Rate Decrease of -13.4% Proposed for 2019
Florida businesses will most likely see their workers’ compensation rates decrease in calendar year 2019. The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) has informed the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation that, because there were fewer on-the-job accidents in the last couple of years, workers’ compensation rates should be decreased by an average of -13.4%.
We will know the exact amount of the rate decrease after the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation holds a public hearing in October to discuss NCCI’s rate request and the Insurance Commissioner then issues his formal decision.
If the proposed rate decrease is approved, it will take effect January 1, 2019 and will apply to workers’ compensation policies as they are issued or renewed on or after that date.
Please note: The -13.4% decrease is an average rate decrease across all industry types. The rate change for your specific workers’ compensation policy may be different.
The average proposed rate decrease by industry group is:
- Manufacturing -13.1%
- Contracting -14.2%
- Office & Clerical -15.4%
Please look for updates from us in upcoming editions of this newsletter.
Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation Goes to Paperless Licensing
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) has announced a major change in how they license construction contractors in the State of Florida. DBPR has implemented a way to expedite the licensing process for construction contractors: they will no longer be mailing licenses upon issuance, as licensees can now print their licenses by logging into their secure online account through the DBPR website.
This change to electronic licensing will allow new licensees to enter the work force at least 7 to 10 business days earlier than in the past where they would have to wait for their license to arrive in the mail. In addition to new licenses, this process will allow current license holders to renew their licenses online and print the license at their convenience, as well as print duplicate licenses as needed without paying a fee.
Arrests for Unlicensed Contracting in Florida
Working with the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud and the Florida DBPR, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested twelve people during an investigation to find contractors working without the required licenses.
Called “Operation Freelancer,” the sheriff’s office contacted individuals advertising home repair services that require a license to perform. As the individuals arrived at the residence, officials checked the state DBPR database to determine if the individual was licensed, registered as a contractor, and whether the individual had the proper workers’ compensation coverage.
In all, Operation Freelancer resulted in 12 felony charges. The sheriff’s office assigns detectives to investigate claims against people who engage in contracting work without proper licenses, permits, or certification. A first offense can result in a civil citation, but repeat violations lead to misdemeanor or felony criminal charges.
Florida has specific rules and guidelines for what type of construction work needs a license to perform.
Here are a few examples of what work requires a DBPR license and what doesn’t (this list is not all-inclusive):
Needs a DBPR License:
- Building a carport or sunroom for compensation.
- Installing a dishwasher (requires connecting to drinking water) or replacing a hot-water heater for compensation.
- Installing a central A/C unit for compensation (requires structural work and wiring)
- Repairing or replacing swimming pool pumps for compensation
- Remodeling a home that requires alteration or replacement of a load-bearing wall for compensation
- Installing or replacing drywall if the contract also includes work on the load-bearing part of the wall, or any plumbing, electrical, or air conditioning work
Doesn’t need a DBPR License:
- Installing a driveway or installing pavers/tile walkways
- Adding a water filter onto a faucet
- Inserting a plug-in A/C window unit
- Cleaning swimming pools or installing an above-ground pool
- Painting; installing cabinets, wood or tile flooring, and insulation
- Installing or replacing drywall if the contract does not include other work on the load-bearing part of the wall or any plumbing, electrical, or air conditioning work
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