Workers’ Compensation Insurance Premiums Drop Again
According to a recent survey, insurance premiums are up almost across the board, except for job injury insurance.
Business owner policies, commercial auto insurance policies, umbrella policies, and general liability policies all got more expensive. But workers’ compensation premiums dropped another 1.4 percent.
“2022’s hard market was reflected in this year’s Ivans Index, showing continued elevation in average premium renewal rates consistently across most major commercial lines,” Kathy Hrach, Ivans vice president of product management, said in a statement which accompanied the report.
Workers’ Compensation Premiums
As a general rule, lower premiums are good news for policyholders, but they are bad news for victims.
Policyholders like rate reductions because, well, everyone likes paying less for the same product. Lawmakers often pressure bureaucrats to reduce workers’ compensation insurance rates. These lawmakers believe, without much supporting evidence, that lower rates attract more businesses to the state.
Rate reductions are bad news for victims, because rate reductions decrease the amount of money in the system. Therefore, a Tampa workers’ compensation attorney must fight even harder to ensure that job accident victims get a fair-sized piece of a shrinking financial pie.
This problem has persisted for decades in Florida. The number of job injury claims goes up almost every year in the Sunshine State, yet workers’ compensation premiums drop almost every year.
The shrinking financial pool not only reduces the amount of benefits available, It also prompts Claims Examiners to be even more aggressive. That’s one of the main reasons the workers’ compensation denial rate has increased over the last decade. Generally speaking, the less money you have, the more determined you are to hold onto it.
Therefore, almost all job injury victims must go to the next level to get the benefits they need and deserve.
These benefits usually include lost wage replacement and medical bill payment. To cope with reduced funds, many Claims Examiners adjust their evaluations. For example, a “reasonable” amount of medical bills in a broken bone case might go from $20,000 to $18,000. A victim without a Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer could be financially responsible for the remainder.
The Workers’ Compensation Process
Claims Examiners deny so many claims because they hope that the victim will abandon the claim and sue in court. If the employer loses this case, its liability insurance company, as opposed to its workers’ compensation insurance company, bears the financial risk.
Alternatively, Claims Examiners hope that victims give up and settle their claims for pennies on the dollar. Sadly, this latter strategy often works, mostly because many victims believe that a denied claim is a meritless claim.
Since the denial rate is so high, most workers’ compensation claims proceed to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. An ALJ is a lot like a civil court judge. An ALJ doesn’t have broad subpoena power and doesn’t have much authority over anyone other than the parties in a case. However, just like a civil judge, an ALJ rules on things like legal arguments and evidence admissibility.
The Claims Examiner review is a paper review without a lawyer. The tables are turned at the next level, which is a live review with a lawyer. Insurance companies know winning an ALJ hearing is a long shot, which is why they are motivated to settle cases on victim-friendly terms.
Count on a Dedicated Hillsborough County Attorney
Injury victims are entitled to important financial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced job injury lawyer in Tampa, contact Kobal Law. We routinely handle matters in Pinellas County and nearby jurisdictions.