Florida drivers send 12K letters to lawmakers opposing PIP repeal
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Insurance policy contract concept with toy model cars having a crash. Auto insurance, car insurance, PIP, no-fault.
'Any reforms to Florida’s auto insurance system should be focused on reducing consumer costs.'

Nearly 12,000 Floridians have sent letters to lawmakers this month urging them to preserve Florida’s existing personal injury protection and “no-fault” auto insurance system.

“Florida drivers are taking action and writing to their elected officials to ask that they oppose HB 719 and SB 54 and to make it clear that now is not the time to raise auto insurance costs in our state,” said Logan McFaddin, assistant vice president of state government relations for the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA). “Floridians already pay the highest premiums in the country for full auto insurance coverage, so they are understandably concerned about any public policy changes that would push costs even higher.”

The bills, which are awaiting a floor vote in the House and already cleared in the Senate, would repeal current personal injury protection requirements and replace it with required bodily injury coverage.

Critics of the proposal worry the legislation would increased costs to insured drivers, particularly those who currently carry minimum coverage, and lead to more uninsured drivers on Florida roads. Critics also contend the change could increase litigation over insurance claims.

“Any reforms to Florida’s auto insurance system should be focused on reducing consumer costs and preventing fraud. Unfortunately, this legislation not only fails to do that, but it is also likely to ultimately lead to more uninsured motorists on our roads — when Florida already has one of the highest rates of uninsured motorists in the nation – and increase litigation,” McFaddin added.

APCIA obtained actuarial assistance in assessing the impact of the current bill language on Florida’s consumers and found it could increase the cost of the average auto insurance policy by as much as 23% or $344.

When factoring the legislation’s lack of meaningful bad faith reforms, a primary source of lawsuit abuse and key cost driver in the Florida auto insurance system, according to the group, costs could increase an additional 3% – 6%, increasing the total impact on the average auto insurance policy to between $399 and $455. If passed, the legislation is likely to have an even greater impact on drivers who purchase minimum limits, with those policyholders’ auto insurance costs increasing by as much as $805 a year, the group  argues.

Those backing PIP repeal say the system is rife with fraud and that the $10,000 coverage limit, set in the 1970s, is woefully inadequate five decades later.

“The key question before us is are the current coverages sufficient, and I think we can all agree that they’re not. This bill seeks to address just that,” Senate sponsor Danny Burgess told senators in a floor hearing on the bill earlier this month.

PIP coverage pays out regardless of which party is responsible for an accident and it does so quickly. Bodily injury coverage, however, doesn’t pay out until a fault determination is made, which can leave health care providers or patients on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical bills while they wait for a claim to resolve.

No-fault repeal is a perennial effort in the Legislature.

And passing the bill was not effortless. Burgess joked about the several times the bill had been postponed on the floor this month before lawmakers finally considered it Wednesday.

Senators trudged through 12 amendments, all but four of which were withdrawn. Among the approved amendments was one from Senate Democratic Leader Gary Farmer to require drivers have $5,000 in med pay coverage, which was originally optional.

Florida has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country, and they are rising faster than every other state except Colorado, which pins the blame on repealing its own no-fault law.

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Florida Politics reporter Renzo Downey contributed to this report.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected]


5 comments

  • martin

    April 23, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    This is strictly a “special interest” piece of legislation. The only party pushing for this are the trial lawyers. This way they can insure themselves a bigger slice of the settlement pie.

    Do away with our current system, and watch the driving public get handed higher auto insurance bills, while the lawyers rub their greedy hands together as they anticipate an additional 3-5k minimum in their pockets. Increased litigation, increased backlog of court cases, as they can now opt to sue on every case that crosses their doorway thresholds.
    Anyone who thinks their health insurance is going to cover the costs of treating their auto accident injuries does not understand their health insurance policies. The overwhelming majority of health policies specifically exclude such injuries. They simply defer back to the auto insurance policy. Sometimes we get what we elect. It is about time legislators looked out for those who they were elected to represent, as opposed to a special interest group.
    However, what can we expect given that those who sponsored these bills are lawyers. Call them out on their conflict of interests.

    • Ms. Jan1955

      April 25, 2021 at 9:54 am

      The insurance industry is such a sham. I don’t see why there isn’t more oversight to keep them honest? I drive my car less than 2000 miles per yr. yet I can’t get a rate reduction unless I rent a tracking device and pay over $35 per month for the box and pay a fee based on the miles driven. This cost would be in addition to my regular premiums. Yeah right, I’m going to jump right on a rate increase to prove I don’t drive much. Same type of B.S. with my homeowners insurance. We were dropped because our roof is 18 years old and they don’t insure homes with roofs over 20 yrs. old even though we paid to have a wind mitigation. The inspectors report said we had a minimum of 5 yrs. left on our roof and we have hurricane tie downs. Our agent spent 2 months finding an insurer for us. She told us that many companies will not insure any homes over 25 yrs. old. We’ve never had a claim and have no pets. It’s all a money making scam for the insurance companies.

  • Vince

    April 23, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    If drivers aren’t required to have bodily injury insurance and we are so concerned with rising costs let’s just get rid of the insurance requirement altogether?
    If insurance companies were really concerned with the impact on low income families surely they could get behind that!
    When did holding the person who causes an accident become such a bad thing?
    None of this matters until you get slammed into by some boke idiot texting while driving only to find out they only have PIP insurance and you are left holding the bag. If you can’t afford to buy insurance in the event you hurt someone you shouldn’t be driving a vehicle. PERIOD!

  • martin

    April 28, 2021 at 3:03 pm

    Vince, that is why you have the option to purchase coverage above your PIP, it is called uninsured coverage.
    In the scene you described, your own PIP would cover 10K worth of your medical bills.
    Do you think the fool who doesn’t even carry the minimum PIP, is going to shell out the additional $30-40–50 additional dollars each money to purchase the proposed minimum of $25,000 worth of body injury?
    You sound like you must be a lawyer.

  • Charles Cartwright

    May 5, 2021 at 10:01 am

    Ms. Downey,

    Please read the Colorado article you link in your article. It says that Colorado’s insurance premiums decreased for many years after abandoning PIP.

    “When Colorado abandoned the no-fault insurance system in 2003, premiums fell from eighth- highest in the country to the middle of the pack, said Carole Walker, executive director with the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. No-fault required insurers to pay their customers’ medical costs regardless of who was at fault in an accident, but now the insurer covering the driver found at fault must pay. Premiums typically are higher in no-fault states.”

    You’re reporting fake news Ms. Downey!!!

Comments are closed.


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