Fla. Insurer/Business Coalition Workers’ Comp Reforms Head to House Floor After Key Committee Vote

April 15, 2003

The Florida House’s Committee on State Administration on Monday provided a key boost for major workers’ compensation reform by approving a committee substitute containing key priorities of the American Insurance Association (AIA) and other insurance and business interests. This proposal also will reportedly go a long way toward meeting Gov. Jeb Bush’s requirement for 15 percent in overall cost savings to the workers’ compensation system.

The proposal presented as a “strike everything” amendment to HB 1837, among other things, would: eliminate the Social Security test for Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits and limit receipt of PTD benefits to age 70; provide an age limit on PTD Supplemental benefits; restore horizontal tort immunity for construction job site subcontractors; adjust medical reimbursement (i.e. an increase for physicians and decrease for hospitals with zero net gain); eliminate hourly attorney’s fees and reduces contingency fees; repeal current construction exemptions; clarify definitions of “accident,” “average weekly wage,” and “psychological impairment.”

“HB 1837 moves us much closer to the goal of improving affordability and availability of workers’ comp insurance in Florida,” said Cecil Pearce, AIA vice president, southeast region. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with members of the House in the ongoing discussions over workers’ compensation reform, and urge legislators to support HB 1837 when it comes to the House floor.”

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