Gov. DeSantis vetoes no-fault repeal legislation

cars parked in row on outdoor parking
Critics argued the bill would push up rates.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has vetoed legislation that would have ended Florida’s no-fault rule after mounting pressure from critics who argued the bill would increase rates for many drivers.

The bill (SB 54) cleared the Legislature in April, and landed on the Governor’s desk Monday.

The measure, carried through the Senate by Zephyrhills Republican Sen. Danny Burgess, sought to end the state mandated $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and would have instead required mandatory bodily injury (MBI) coverage that would have paid out up to $25,000 for a crash-related injury or death.

“While the PIP system has flaws and Florida law regarding bad faith is deficient … SB 54 does not adequately address the current issues facing Florida drivers and may have unintended consequences that would negatively impact both the market and consumers,” DeSantis wrote in his veto letter.

It’s news many in the insurance industry greeted with relief.

“We’re grateful Gov. DeSantis put the brakes on PIP repeal,” said Michael Carlson, president and CEO of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida. “Forcing Floridians to buy more auto insurance would have been hardest on the drivers who can least afford it and would have increased the number of uninsured drivers on the road. We’re relieved the Governor agreed this was the wrong thing to do. To the lawmakers who spoke up this year to protect insurance consumers, particularly those who buy the minimum required insurance, thank you.”

The federation pointed to a 2021 industry study estimating more than 20% of drivers in Florida, or one in five vehicles on the road, is currently uninsured.

Still, no-fault repeal has been a perennial effort in the Legislature. And part of the bill’s contents, namely bad faith reform, has been a target of some lawmakers for a decade.

DeSantis’ veto Tuesday means lawmakers will have to go back to the drawing board if they want to rework Florida’s auto insurance laws.

The no-fault system was established in Florida in 1979, along with the requirement of carrying $10,000 in PIP coverage. But, under the bill, the state would have shifted to a system where parties litigate over who caused accidents.

Although repeal was popular in both chambers — the House approved it in a 100-16 vote, and the Senate in a 37-3 vote — the legislation faced opposition from several lawmakers, as well as some insurance and medical groups.

Democratic Sens. Lauren Book and Jason Pizzo voted against it, as did Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, who argued the bill would increase the insurance rates on the poorest Floridians, possibly by half.

Several insurance and medical groups also voiced support for the current system, which compensates medical providers without drivers having to go to court to determine fault. Opponents of the bill have started urging DeSantis to veto it since the legislation cleared the Legislature.

PIP coverage pays out regardless of which party is responsible for an accident and it does so quickly. MBI 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.

Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier said he was “hesitant” to support the repeal, according to The News Service of Florida. Altmaier’s office Monday released an actuarial study that found repealing PIP would result in an overall increase in premiums of 13.3% for all coverages combined, or $202 a year for the average vehicle. Altmaier ordered the analysis, which Pinnacle Actuarial Resources Inc. conducted.

The Florida Insurance Council, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association and the Florida Chiropractic Physician Association also took part in the veto campaign.

“An APCIA analysis and a study commissioned by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation found that SB 54 was likely to significantly increase costs for Florida drivers and have the most severe impact on drivers who purchase minimum limits. In Florida, approximately 40% of drivers carry minimum limits. Skyrocketing costs could have also resulted in coverage becoming unaffordable for many, leading to more uninsured drivers on Florida’s roads,” said Logan McFaddin, assistant vice president of state government relations for the APCIA.”

“Moving forward, we hope any proposals to reform or eliminate Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system will reduce consumer costs, combat rampant lawsuit abuse by implementing meaningful bad faith reforms, and prevent or minimize fraud. APCIA will continue to be a resource for Florida legislators on this issue should they revisit it in the upcoming legislative session.”

But, proponents of the bill, including attorneys and Senate President Wilton Simpson, argued that a majority of motorists, who already carry bodily injury coverage, would see rate savings. Supporters also argued that rates would go down because the change would reduce fraud that has long plagued the PIP system.

___

Content from The News Service of Florida was used in this report with permission.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]


32 comments

  • John

    June 29, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    injury attorneys are the reason for insane auto insurance rates. We need to significantly cut back their % take of a claim. Lawyers are the reason the country is sliding off the cliff.

    • Florida Man

      June 29, 2021 at 11:59 pm

      The poor woes me multi billion dollar insurance companies that make us pay monthly premiums to only find every reason to deny our claim when in need are totally not blame at all!

      • Water Über Florida

        June 30, 2021 at 9:43 am

        I feel so sorry for the multi-billion dollar insurance companies.
        It really is the attorneys that are at fault that the poor CEOs cant have their fifteenth beach penthouse with a private olympic swimming pool .

        • Florida Man

          June 30, 2021 at 9:57 am

          So many sad stories about these poor insurance company lobbyists/CEOs not being able to buy their fifth yacht in Monte Carlo, while denying a claim to a paraplegic US military veteran or single mom pay check to pay check. How will these insurance lackeys ever manage? ***plays a tiny violin***

  • Arthro

    June 30, 2021 at 4:52 am

    Good decision by Governor DeSantis. This would have increased rates for our most vulnerable citizens.

    • Tom

      June 30, 2021 at 5:26 am

      Gov Ron always on the side of the peeps, everyday working people.
      Agreed on its costly impact.’Good going Governor..

      • Chattanooga ChooChoo

        June 30, 2021 at 7:52 am

        Correction: Ron Desantis loves raking in donations from the insurance companies instead of helping the people of Florida from being financially burdened by this antiquated law. Have fun getting injured by morons without bodily injury coverage and being SOL on your medical bills!

      • Tom

        July 1, 2021 at 8:12 am

        Continue to stay with the peeps Gov Ron. That’s why you are America’s Governor. Misinformed comments by others here. You are on the side of Floridians . Keep up the fight on our behalf.

        • Alan

          July 1, 2021 at 3:56 pm

          Tom you are either clueless or an idiot. He is not on your side. He is on the side of the insurance companies and all these doctors that provide him campaign money. This was not in the best interest of the peeps as you call them. If you had a clue, you would realize that. And as for him being America’s Governor, I don’t think so.

          • Jon

            July 1, 2021 at 8:38 pm

            Alan, why do you have to call someone an idiot to get your point across?

  • martin

    June 30, 2021 at 7:10 am

    Time to vote out every ambulance chasing attorney from the legislature. Erin Grall being the defacto leader. This bill if allowed to become law would simply be the “personal injury attorney right to earn more money law”.

    We the people, would get stuck paying upwards of $200 more per year for inferior coverage, while the lawyers would be guaranteed an increase of at least 3-5k more since every accident would now have to be litigated.
    It should also be a requirement at anyone seriously running for state legislature first pass a basic IQ test of reading and math comprehension. That is the only way to insure that bills like this never make it out in the first place.

    • Go Bolts

      June 30, 2021 at 7:49 am

      You have to be a special kind of stupid to believe siding with the crooked insurance lobby is siding with the people. This is just another payday for insurance crooks. Bad day for hardworking Floridians that will continue to pay for deadbeats with no bodily injury coverage on Florida’s streets through premiums. Typical insurance industry greed and all the comments above scream of desperation from paid insurance lackeys.

    • Vin

      June 30, 2021 at 9:28 am

      Complain about rates going up for bad drivers if you want to. BUT to think $10k in PIP is superior to $25/50 of BI is just dumb, especially for those who have health insurance (90% of the population).
      Also to think this is a win for citizens? Why do you think all the insurance companies were against this law? Do you really think they care about people? LOL Now they can continue offering a max of $10k in coverage for nearly the same cost for most people.
      Amazing how many people can’t think for themselves.

    • Tron

      June 30, 2021 at 10:36 am

      You want Erin’s House seat? Come claim it.
      Do your best—pretty please—and earn that 36% of the vote you’ll get. Spend as much insurance lobby money as possible so we can laugh at you.

  • Informed.

    June 30, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Thank goodness for our governors levelheaded thinking on this one. The massive increase this horrible idea would have put on Florida citizens car insurance would have caused many of them to decide car insurance has gotten too expensive. The average number of people that bother to have any car insurance in Miami for example is less than two out of five. People are finding ways to not spend 200 of their dollars every month on cable you couldn’t expect them to spend more than that per month above what they are paying now for inferior insurance coverage. What you need to remember about car insurance is the vast majority of people that have it have only what the state mandates they have. The way this was going to go there was going to be fewer people with even more useless insurance coverage in the event of a car accident. Florida is a unique state with overcrowding, and bizarre numbers of transient visitors that don’t know where they’re going. The sunset of mandatory PIP without something basically just like it being mandated in its place is a train wreck that only someone that doesn’t understand how this all works would suggest. Finally nice to have a governor so on the ball, he is killing it for Florida!!!!!!

  • Bill

    June 30, 2021 at 8:23 am

    Always knew DeSantis was a complete baboon. Ans now this proves it. Good job moron.

  • Bill

    June 30, 2021 at 8:26 am

    Don’t worry all you medical providers on this board. The legislature will override his veto. Bye bye pip! Just a matter of time. Greedy medical providers and chiropractors. Scam artists.

  • martin

    June 30, 2021 at 8:51 am

    Bill, just post your florida bar number for full disclosure. The legislature will not even consider an “over-ride”. What bazzaro universe are you living in?

    Gov. Desantis received over 40,000 letters, calls and emails asking him to consider a veto. This specific legislation SB54 amounted to nothing more than a “solution” in search of a “problem”.

    However, the real problem was and remains the greedy trial lawyers, and low IQ legislators who just got smacked down once again, by a rational and intelligent Gov. Desantis. If this was best work product that the legislature could provide, they deserved the failing grade that Gov. Desantis just handed them.

    • Tallahassee

      June 30, 2021 at 9:21 am

      Martin, please just post your insurance industry employment contract and insurance lobbyist lanyard on this article for full disclosure.

      People like Martin don’t care about the hardship of getting permanently injured or worse by a low life that shouldn’t be driving on Florida’s roads without bodily injury coverage and be stuck with six figures in medical bills to then be jerked around by the crooked insurance company. The $10,000.00 in PIP has not kept up with inflation since 1979 and will hardly cover a few doctors visits, but Martin likely loves or works for a PIP clinic. To Martin and Gov Desantis, however, the insurance cash is more important than helping injured Floridians and lowering premiums for those that have been paying into to the PIP system that only benefits low lifes that don’t have/pay for insurance and the sketchy PIP clinics. I hope you enjoy the higher premiums, Martin.

  • Delano Brodis

    June 30, 2021 at 8:59 am

    Pay day for the big guy

  • Bob

    June 30, 2021 at 9:01 am

    Good luck to those who get seriously injured in an auto crash only to find out that you were hit by someone who does not carry bodily injury liability coverage. I’m guessing this will continue to leave this up to the responsible citizens to pay extra and carry uninsured motorist coverage. AND have pay even more premiums to the insurance companies to carry UM coverage. Insurance companies win either way.

  • Bill

    June 30, 2021 at 9:33 am

    Martin, is clearly a chiropractor. In fact I even think I know who he is. Considering how much this bill was passed by an override will occur. Do you really think the insurance industry is out for the ordinary joe? I don’t think so Martin.

  • Michael Richmond

    June 30, 2021 at 9:36 am

    Governor did the noble thing he has a heart apparently. Hopefully they will knock off this effort to repeal every year. Erin Grail needs to stop this every year

  • Bill

    June 30, 2021 at 9:36 am

    Desantis only sticking up for the insurance industry to get his campaign money. Vote this guy out!!

    • Jon

      June 30, 2021 at 12:43 pm

      I see a lot of comments from attorneys and medical providers here on this post. . Question, why not do a study on how to lower rates? They did this in Colorado and it raised rates. I know I lived there during this transition.

  • Bill Newton

    June 30, 2021 at 9:46 am

    Notice no consumer or senior groups were urging DeSantis to Repeal, only insurance companies and their sycophants, of which there are many. Consumers would have benefited from better coverage and according to a report this year, would have saved about $300 per year with B/I. But you can see DeSantis thought very little about this bill and vetoed quickly because he knows who he works for : The insurance lobby.

  • Busy Bee Caucus

    June 30, 2021 at 9:53 am

    Even if Arthur Laffer were lobbying the bill with Ayn Rand handling messaging, who really thought a conservative Republican governor with presidential aspirations coming into a reelection year would side with the trial lawyers and put his name on a bill that TikTok creators could turn into a devastating ad about raising the cost of living on working people during a time when they can least afford it? Keeping the status quo keeps things predictable in this volatile state!

    • Bill

      June 30, 2021 at 10:01 am

      We have one of the highest insurance rates in the nation and you want to keep it status quo? Your a genius busy bee.

      • BUSY BEE

        June 30, 2021 at 10:54 am

        Genius, we’re talking about status quo and predictability in the marketplace and political messaging environment. It’s a pretty easy to understand concept. I get it and you can, too!

        For example, status quo = No new year’s stories in the 2022 ELECTION YEAR about how rates set to skyrocket for millions of economically vulnerable Florida residents because of a new law signed by governor.

        Supporters of reform failed this year to sell the policy change as being a bitter yet necessary pill to swallow to stabilize rates, keep insurance affordable, etc. They failed to show how PIP is plagued by high-powered interests like funeral homes and health care providers who are attached to PIP like a sucker fish to a shark.
        So what happens next? Another push for repeal? In an election year? Not going to happen. But the issue will stay alive so the powers that be and want to be on the 4th floor of the Capitol can continue to use it to keep big insurance and trial lawyer money flowing to leadership and its priority campaigns while Democrat lawmaker votes and campaigns are taken for granted.
        Do you think chances for passage and signature of this policy will get better after redistricting under President Passidomo and Speaker Renner? A “eat your broccoli” campaign extolling the virtues of carrying insurance as a responsibility is deaf to the economic realities facing Floridians who are looking for relief.
        ECONOMIC RELIEF beats RESPONSIBILITY as a message, genius.
        REMEMBER 1992: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

        • Trom

          June 30, 2021 at 11:43 am

          Spot on David Altmaier impersonation, mate.

          • Busy Bee

            June 30, 2021 at 12:39 pm

            By approving incremental increases without tackling WHOLESALE structural reform, Altmaier and the states leaders on all sidesl have allowed insurance companies to approach Florida consumers like they are the proverbial frog in boiling water with the hikes turning up the temp. This is all about power and the power and the politics of money not the purity of public policy in service to the people.

  • Matthew

    July 9, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    As an insurance agent, something seems really fishy here. This veto is the first major issue I disagree with DeSantis on. I don’t get how it was OVERWHELMINGLY passed in the FL House & Senate and then the Governor just decides to veto it because a few lobbyists say it will increase rates. YES, it probably will increase rates, but there has to be some pain before we get to a place where we can have lower rates.

    Since he already vetoed the bill, I guess we are just now prolonging the inevitable for some strange reason. If anyone here thinks it is a good thing that bodily injury liability insurance is NOT mandated by the State (the ONLY state in the USA by the way to NOT require this coverage), you should seriously do some research or just don’t even make a comment. Oh yeah, I forgot that Floridians ARE required to purchase bodily injury liability…AFTER the driver his someone and injures another party…yeah, that makes SO much sense.

Comments are closed.


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