Gulfshore Insurance > Gulfshore Blog > Workers' Compensation

Under a change to an NCCI rule, policyholders must now report any changes in the ownership of their business to their insurance carrier within 90 days.

When the ownership of a business changes, such as through a sale, transfer, merger, consolidation, or formation of a new entity, the change can affect your workers’ compensation experience modification factor (“mod”) that is assigned by NCCI. In the past, application of a revised experience mod, due to ownership change, was effective on the date a policyholder reported the ownership change. If the ownership change was reported to NCCI within 90 days of the change, the revised mod was applied as of the date of the change. If the ownership change was reported more than 90 days after the change, the revised mod was only applied as of the next rating effective date.

NCCI was concerned that policyholders were delaying their reporting of ownership changes/combinability status in order to delay a change in their current experience mod, so they proposed a change to the rule. NCCI determined that ownership and/or combinability status changes should be reflected in the purchaser’s and the seller’s mods as quickly as possible to ensure that the correct premium for the exposure is charged.

As of January 1, 2019, businesses have 90 days to report changes in their ownership in writing to their insurance carrier. Reporting may be done via a Confidential Request for Information Form (ERM-14), or in a narrative on your company letterhead and signed by an officer. If the change in ownership results in NCCI recalculating your experience mod, the insurance carrier will apply the new mod retroactively to the date of the change in ownership, regardless of whether the revised mod is an increase or a decrease.

The rule change also now requires all policyholders to report ownership changes to their workers’ compensation provider, even if the policyholder is not experience rated.

As always, if you have any questions regarding this update, please feel free to contact us. We are here to help.

Hundreds of construction workers are killed every year from ladders and scaffolds, and many thousand more suffer serious injuries that are permanently disabling. And it is estimated that more than 30% of workers compensation claims costs stemming from construction sites are the result of falls from elevated surfaces.

A recent study indicated that injuries related to falls from elevated surfaces are more severe than other injury claims because these accidents result in more time away from work, damage to multiple body parts, and more short- and long-term disability leave.

Do Not Let These Accidents Happen to You

  • A worker, who was standing on the top of a stepladder, fell when the ladder shifted. He suffered a spinal injury and was out of work for four months.
  • Another worker failed to secure an extension ladder at the top and fell 20 feet when the ladder slipped away from the wall.
  • Two men were working high up in a building atrium when their scaffold collapsed. They plunged four stories to a concrete deck. One man was dead on arrival at the hospital; the other was in critical condition.
  • When a three-story wooden scaffold collapsed, two workers fell to the ground, suffering serious neck and back injuries. A third man working under the scaffolding was also injured.


It’s crucial for construction companies and their workers to implement regular safety training — and put that training to practice. Linked below are several helpful OSHA resources and fact sheets to improve worker safety at your organization:

LADDER SAFETY

SCAFFOLDING SAFETY

FALL PROTECTION

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation announced that it has approved a rate decrease for workers’ compensation insurance in Florida. The 1.8% decrease was filed by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) in a law-only filing resulting from the effects of the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This applies to both new and renewal workers’ compensation insurance policies effective in Florida on or after June 1, 2018.

For more information about the filing, read the official release from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

Last June, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill into law that explains how patients can receive medical marijuana under Florida’s related amendment from 2016. Amendment 2, Florida’s “medical marijuana law” passed with 71% of the vote and took effect January 3, 2017. The amendment required lawmakers to come up with a description of how patients can qualify and receive medical marijuana by July 3, 2017. As an employer or employee in Florida, here’s what the new marijuana laws mean for you.

Employers still have the right to a Drug-Free Workplace

While court challenges may arise, employers are generally safe since the law doesn’t require accommodation for medical marijuana users.The medical marijuana amendment to Florida’s law still preserves employers’ rights to enforce drug-free workplace policies. Despite patients being able to legally qualify and receive medical marijuana, if their employer enforces a drug-free environment, the patient won’t be able to work. The amendment does not limit an employer’s ability to “establish, continue, or enforce a drug-free policy.” It does not make it mandatory for employers to accommodate patients receiving medical marijuana or working under the influence of marijuana. The section also states that it does not “create a cause of action against an employer for discrimination or wrongful discharge.” Since the passing of the amendment in Florida, employers have worried about what it could mean for drug use in the workplace. Until courts rule otherwise, companies must not tolerate testing positive for marijuana under the drug-free workplace.

Medical marijuana and employee drug testing

According to the new medical marijuana law, patients must have a “qualifying condition” to receive medical marijuana. Conditions include cancer, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, seizures, and terminal illness. Since the passing of the new law, employers and employees have wondered what it might mean for drug use in the workplace. The answer? Not much, thanks to the section not granting employees the right to use marijuana at work if an employer has a policy against it. If an employee qualifies for legal marijuana use, he or she must still obey an employer’s rules for using drugs at work or having marijuana in the system. If an employer wishes to maintain or implement drug testing rules prior to hiring an employee, he or she has this right.

Under current statutory and case law, an employee that does not pass the drug test, even if they have a prescription for medical marijuana use, does not have a case for discrimination against the employer because the Statute that governs the Florida Drug Free workplace still prohibits use of any drugs scheduled as Class One by the Federal government.. Of course this will be eventually be played out in courts and the possibility remains that the courts could at some time rule in favor of employees – especially as the opioid epidemic worsens and more and more states are looking to medical marijuana as a better alternative to chronic pain relief. Until that time, the statute is clear that marijuana use, medical or otherwise, is not permitted under the Florida Drug Free Workplace rules.

Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation has approved a statewide average rate decrease of 9.5% and premium decrease of 9.8%. This applies to both new and renewal workers’ compensation insurance policies effective in Florida as of January 1, 2018.

  • Click here for a comprehensive list of the new rates by classification.
  • Click here to read the official release from the Office of Insurance Regulation.
  • Click here to read the final order on the rate filing.