Florida PIP reform comes to an abrupt halt in committee


Florida PIP reform comes to an abrupt halt in committeeFlorida’s no-fault PIP reform came to an abrupt halt at the House Committee, where the comprehensive reform bill was rejected by a single vote.

In spite, of the coordinated effort by the insurance industry, state officials, as well as consumer groups like the Sunshine Alliance to Erase Fraud and the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, the House Subcommittee on Health Care and Human Services voted down by a 9 to 8 margin, the HB 967/HB1411, which represented the far reaching attempts to bring about reforms in the state’s no-fault law since 2007.

These combined bills had contained various provisions that were designed to lower fraud, reduce litigation costs, as well as control medical costs. Among the many things, this combined bill would have tied up the PIP medical reimbursements to Medicare rates and would have also allowed insurance companies to use a schedule of maximum charges for the medical treatment. The bills had also featured caps on attorney fees while giving insurers more tools and time to investigate into the claims and also granted more resources to state officials to help in combating fraud.

William Stander who is the regional Vice President at Property Casualty Insurer Association of America, has stated that he is extremely disappointed with the abrupt end of the PIP reform. He went on to state that the industry had been very hopeful that the new Legislature, which had projected itself as the most pro-business in history, would help in achieving the reform. However, whether they are pro-business or not lawmakers seem to have decided to put the PIP reform on hold by not moving forward.

Lawmakers are presently preoccupied with another insurance-related issue which is a little urgent in nature, and that could be part of the reason for the PIP bills to get pushed aside. The urgent issue related to insurance is – what to do about property insurance and the state’s Citizen Property Insurance Corp?

Stander was quoted as saying that since everyone was focused on property issues; their biggest challenge was in trying to convince lawmakers that there was a huge crisis in PIP, although this is something that may not be felt at the retail level. However, he also added that PIP reform proved to be a very tough issue as there were opposition lawyers, medical providers, and property issues in the forefront.

This is only going to lead to more uninsured drivers in Florida and fraud will go unchecked, driving auto insurance premiums further.