Taking another step to reportedly reduce fraud in Florida, a state representative out of Delray Beach filed a proposal to end the state’s personal-injury protection auto insurance system, known as “no -fault,” in 2019. As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, this proposal came two months after Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty mentioned repealing PIP and “doing nothing” to further reduce fraud in the personal-injury protection system. The idea appeals to state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, too.
It was in 2012 that Atwater and Governor Rick Scott who spear-headed changes intended to fight fraud in the no-fault system, and they both have maintained as recently as October that time was needed to see the impact of the legislative changes. Now, Atwater’s office is asking for the insurance industry to bring forward evidence to show whether or not rates are going to come down. Atwater spokeswoman Ashley Carr said in an email to the Sentinel, “If consumers aren’t going to get the relief the legislation intended, then the time to repeal has arrived.”
There is also a Senate version of the proposal. Under the proposal bill, motorists would be required to have a minimum of property-damage and bodily-injury liability coverage. Currently, under the no-fault system, which is intended to make insurance claims less adversarial than lawsuits, motorists are required to carry personal-injury protection coverage that includes $10,000 in medical benefits.
In 2012, both representatives and senators questioned the limits of $10,000 in medical coverage, and saw a need to remove fraud from the no-fault system. At the time, lawmakers estimated that the average Florida motorist was paying $180 a year for the personal-injury protection portion of their auto coverage. Consequently, a 2012 law set benchmarks for insurers to lower rates on the coverage. The law also required people involved in crashes to seek treatment within 14 days and allowed up to $10,000 in benefits for emergency medical conditions, while putting a $2,500 cap on non-emergency conditions.
State officials maintained the changes were showing signs of working. But the numbers were still considered too preliminary to show the full impact of the law. The changes also drew legal challenges.
Although the legal challenges have failed so far, some lawmakers believe the law will eventually fail a court challenge and have suggested the state replace PIP with bodily-injury coverage.
It should make for an interesting legislative session.