The state’s new insurance consumer advocate stated on Thursday that it is important to crack down on auto insurance fraud and strengthen property insurance market, in order to help consumers in the long run. This was on top of the priority list, she stated.
The Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate, Robin Wescott has stated that the health of the markets is directly dependent on consumer satisfaction and protection. She stated this shortly after she was chosen for the post. This is a role that is both delicate as well as adversarial at times and has pitted advocates against the Legislature as well as the industry earlier on.
Although, property insurance rates are both significant and make headlines all the time, Westscott has stated that she would be looking beyond the costs and will ensure that consumers are well protected from shady companies as well as fraudsters who try to exploit the situation.
Westscott stated on Thursday, that she is unsure if she would be second guessing the actuaries very often at the Office of Insurance Regulation, as they are extremely competent. Instead, her office would be looking at what needs to be done about the markets since the rates are unlikely to go down, until they have an extremely good and competitive market for the citizens.
The first priority according to Westscott would be to try and curb the PIP fraud that seems to be spiraling out of control and thereby costing law-abiding auto insurance policyholders millions of dollars by way of higher premium costs due to staged crashes as well as fraudulent medical claims.
During the last session, lawmakers made a feeble attempt at trying to pass meaningful PIP legislation. The lack of progress is proof enough that the entire issue is far more complex as there are issues such as clinic accountability, court access, and attorney’s fees etc.
Westscott also stated that there were a number of things that they could do in order to protect consumers and ensure that they were fraud resistant. She stated that it was critical; otherwise the auto market would end up being where the property market is at the moment.
Westscott has been appointed by State Chief Financial Officer and has held positions at the Department of Financial Services as executive director of Medicaid & Public Assistance Fraud Strike Force.
Atwater stated that Westscott would be an outspoken, ardent, and persistent insurance consumer advocate and will ensure that consumers are protected from abuse and fraud.