Florida leaders rally for PIP reform

by R.J. Lehmann on January 26, 2012 · View Comments

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, among other leaders, held a Jan. 25 rally at the State Capitol in Tallahassee to drum up support for efforts to overhaul Florida’s so-called “no fault” auto insurance system.

Scott has outlined an approach he calls the “four pillars” of reform, which include fraud prevention, litigation reform, utilization and provider reform, and accountability. Enacted in 1973, Florida’s no fault system requires all drivers maintain at least $10,000 of personal injury protection coverage.

“This is how laws get changed,” Scott said to a crowd. “You show up and let lawmakers know what you want. Tell them we want this change this year.”

The rally came as a bill that would replace the state’s PIP system with a new form of accident insurance called “emergency care coverage” cleared its second legislative hurdle, passing the House Civil Justice Subcommittee by an 11-4 vote. The measure, H.B. 119 , previously passed the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee and moves next to the Economic Affairs Committee.

Sponsored by state Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, the bill would require victims of auto accidents to report to a hospital emergency room within 72 hours to be eligible for emergency care coverage benefits. The bill also would cap attorneys fees, establish a medical fee schedule, proscribe medical tests deemed not medically necessary, require more detailed accident reports, grant insurers more time to investigate suspected fraud and give greater latitude to question claimants under oath.

Boyd’s bill has support from the insurance industry, with some trades calling for a complete repeal of Florida’s no fault system. Ray Farmer, Southeast region vice president for the American Insurance Association, said in a statement that his group “supports the repeal of Florida’s broken PIP system. We commend members of the subcommittee for taking action which maintains emergency care coverage but will deter fraudulent claims.”

According to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, Florida leads the nation in staged accidents, with Tampa, Miami, Orlando and Hialeah all ranking among the top 10 cities for questionable auto claims. Though the number of claims has fallen over the past five years, claims costs have risen more than 50% over the same period. PCI estimates auto insurance fraud has cost Florida consumers $1 billion over the past three years, leaving Florida policyholders to pay premiums that are 56% higher than those in other states.

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  • Amber Whipple

    This article has a lot of biased tone to it. The insurance companies have fooled everyone to thinking that pip is the problem. The realu00a0storyu00a0behind pipu00a0reform is not fraud, its insurance companiesu00a0conrol over the direction of care for soft tissue injuryu00a0cases,u00a0whichu00a0makes upu00a0theu00a0majorityu00a0ofu00a0law suites.u00a0Shame onu00a0you Govenor Scott and your cronies for pushing a bill that is not accurateu00a0which willu00a0ultimately backfire and costsu00a0the florida tax payer more money in the long run.nu00a0u00a0u00a0

  • Privatdetektiv

    u00a0Good to know about the pip, good sharing. Keep it up.

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