Jimmy Patronis warns if auto rates increase, Florida drivers ‘will burn down the Capitol’
Jimmy Patronis launches a fusillade at Joe Biden.

patronis
Patronis says PIP bills under consideration could do more harm than good.

The Florida Republican who plays a key role in regulating insurance gave a strong warning this week that legislators need to be careful about a push to repeal the state’s no-fault auto insurance law.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, one of those who has the power to hire or fire the state’s top insurance regulator, maintained that two bills now moving through the Legislature would only drive up bills for motorists.

Those bills would repeal the longstanding law that requires drivers to carry $10,000 worth of personal injury protection insurance — also called PIP — and would replace it with a new type of coverage.

“My phone doesn’t ring off the hook with people complaining about PIP,” Patronis told Florida Politics. “Now I’ll tell you what; if their insurance rates go up, they will burn down the Capitol.”

Patronis added that the bills filed by Sen. Danny Burgess and Rep. Erin GrallSB 150 and HB 1525 — need to be “massaged into something bigger and better that makes sense.”

Patronis maintains the bills under consideration would drive rates up by 40%, a figure that stems from an Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) report conducted by Pinnacle. The Pinnacle analysis indicated a 2021 bill to repeal PIP — and which was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Ron DeSantis — would increase rates by an average of $202.

Grall criticized that same Pinnacle report Monday evening, telling members of the House Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee that the report had incorrect information, such as the percentage of uninsured drivers. The Vero Beach Republican also questioned the Office of Insurance Regulation’s intent in commissioning the report.

“I think there was agency malpractice,” Grall said. “To commission a report on draft legislation; to accept that report even though the report did not address the components of the bill that was passed; to hold that report until after we left for Session and to present it without the ability to respond to it is malpractice. And every single one of us should be upset that an agency would have motivations to kill the policy that we work on.”

The Office of Insurance Regulation did not respond to Florida Politics’ request for comment. It did, though, provide a link to the Pinnacle report that Grall complained about.

Both Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls have expressed a willingness to repeal the state’s no-fault automobile insurance system. The bills filed this year Burgess and Grall repeal PIP and the state would return to a fault-based system and people would be required to purchase mandatory bodily injury coverage.

Grall’s comments regarding the OIR and the Pinnacle report came after Sen. Jeff Brandes said it would be “legislative malpractice” to pass a PIP in the 2022 Session that is nearly identical to a bill the Governor vetoed in 2021.

Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, criticized Burgess for not getting a different fiscal analysis on the proposed bill if he disagreed with the findings in the OIR-commissioned report.

Patronis, though, is allowing the Pinnacle report’s findings to inform his position on the bills. The CFO maintains if automobile insurance costs increase so will the number of uninsured drivers on the road.

“The average citizen in the state of Florida, they will give up their car insurance before they give up their cell phone bill, their power bill, their cable bill,” Patronis said. “The policy, maybe at some point, needs to be addressed. But what is being proposed right now ultimately saddles hospitals with bad debt. It leaves an insurance system vulnerable without adequate coverage because people will simply prioritize their household budget. … It’s the rule of numbers, when it comes to people’s priorities with their dollars.”

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Jason Delgado of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


19 comments

  • Melt

    February 9, 2022 at 6:00 pm

    Wrong time. We’re in a housing crisis… Shipping crisis… Inflation soaring… Despite what millionaires in charge want us to believe is possible….Florida will never be the state of only rich people (because the poor have no where to go). The rich will be forced to fund food, and housing projects (or bury) the poor when the poor start rebelling against the rich in power and begin fighting for basic rights to live. History repeats itself! Patronis isn’t wrong…we need relief right now, not more laws to raise the already skyrocketing cost of living. The current lawmakers are out of touch with the average wage earner and can’t see how much damage affecting already impoverished and struggling people’s ability to get to work will do. Unemployment, rising crimes, working parents forced to pay fines, tickets or worse – inviting legal problems by withgoing valid insurance simply because they can’t afford to get to work otherwise.

  • Nancy

    February 10, 2022 at 4:59 am

    PIP repeal and mandatory BI mandates are being forced down our throats by the “woke” libs in the FJA, blue-state refugees, and millionaire left wing trial lawyers. We don’t need California style auto insurance in Florida.

    Do not be fooled, folks. There is no data to support proponents’ arguments that the bill as proposed will reduce insurance rates. Experts and commissioned studies instead point to massive rate increases for millions of working-class and low income minority drivers who buy PIP only policies. The rich, who purchase high limit BI policies for their luxury German sedans, are estimated to save big bucks from this proposed bill.

    In turn, massive auto insurance premium increases will lead to more working-class Floridians not buying auto insurance at all. They’ll risk it, instead of paying for much more expensive MBI auto insurance, they’ll be forced to buy food for their families or pay rent to keep a roof over their children’s head.

    This is quintessential reverse Robinhood. Stealing from the working poor and giving it to the wealthy elite lawyers. Driving with insurance shouldn’t be a luxury in Florida.

    • Chuck

      February 12, 2022 at 9:35 pm

      Melt,

      I’m hearing “Greedy Grall” is allegedly a plaintiff BI trial lawyer or involved in a similar area of law? Is this true? If so isn’t this a massive conflict of interest? If her PIP repeal legislation succeeds wouldn’t she stand to gain from this? I’m hearing an extra $5,000 dollars per case, allegedly. That would start to add up. If true this is worse than anything Nancy Pelosi has done with her woke left wing friends passing legislation that benefits only her and her husband’s business. Meanwhile her district spirals into a dystopian hell hole of crime and poverty, and her constituents are left holding the bag with skyrocketing inflation and higher costs. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen here because of Grall’s greed! Florida citizens can’t handle higher premiums on top of historic inflation. Greedy Grall has to put a stop to this!

  • Marco

    February 10, 2022 at 9:46 am

    Wilton Simpson, Chris Sprowls, and Erin Grall could care less about the good citizens of Florida. This is an action designed for the sole purpose of lining their pockets with additional cash. Such a change in the law will force more auto-accident victims into the courtroom. BINGO! more lawsuits, and more settlement money for the lawyers.
    Do they have clue as to the average deductible on a health insurance plan; 1,500-5000 or more. No way will our health insurance cover injuries incurred as a result of a motor vehicle crash.
    They simply represent the altar of the almighty dollar. Enough is enough. Stand up and just say no to messing with our auto policies.
    More important: home-owners insurance, rampant inflation, sky-high rents., gasoline, environmental issues.

    • Mark E.

      February 11, 2022 at 10:53 am

      Some of this is just not true. If your auto insurance doesn’t cover your injuries, your health insurance WILL absolutely cover the costs of your care. And, here’s the important part not being said. THERE IS MASSIVE FRAUD in Florida’s PIP system. Chiropractors and lawyers are ripping auto insurance customers off by the hundreds of millions of dollars. ALL drivers pay for that! All that goes away when you go to a BI system where the insurer only pays the plaintiff who then pays back the medical insurer. Medical insurers make sure there’s no fraud but under PIP nobody does. This is a smart move.

      • Liberty4CA

        February 11, 2022 at 12:43 pm

        Finally, someone who knows what they are talking about–thank you, Mark. These CoC cheerleaders either can’t be bothered with going against the insurance industry, or they just don’t have the courage to do so.

      • Maximus.

        February 16, 2022 at 7:12 pm

        Put up or shut up. Proof that chiropractors and lawyers are ripping off the system? Ready for your ignorance.

        • Mark E.

          February 16, 2022 at 9:03 pm

          Seriously. Ask the National Insurance Crime Bureau. No Fault states have the biggest fraud problem because the medical benefits are first party benefits not third party benefits. Florida is a large No Fault market with a serious fraud problem. If you can’t look it up yourself, that’s on you not me.

          • Maximus

            February 17, 2022 at 9:25 am

            No friend it’s on you who made the charge to post specific references. I’ll wait for more of your dribble. I’ve done more medico-legal work in this arena than most over 40 years on behalf of the carriers in most cases reviewed. While there were some instances of provider fraud, most of the cases being rendered care by chiropractors, and medical doctors were legitimate. The legal representation in those cases was from well known respected law firms. IME the rampant fraud you claim was minimal in the thousands of cases I reviewed and examined. Minimal ime. Then there is fraud committed by the insurance carriers themselves. In one case an Aetna adjuster got the injured patient to sign off on her medical benefits in a fraudulent manner. The adjuster was caught lying under oath about this and the jury rendered a 3 million dollar verdict for punitive damages and injuries. All because of insurance company fraud and a lie under oath. So don’t dribble away to me that provider fraud is rampant when in fact you probably have no experience with these types of medical injury cases. There are some bad apples on both sides but they are minimal.

      • Cary Lubet

        February 17, 2022 at 12:31 am

        Your hlth ins will cover limited physical therapy and limited chiropractor coverage and would expect to recover benefits from liable party, try to find ortho, Neuro or other medical providers that we take auto accidents, too many depos,and time consuming for lower reimbursements with managed care, out of network will eat up as much of injureds $ as the greedy lawyers, BI only will not cover lost wages, towing, comp or collision, wake up smell the real reasons why Atty dream of 25/50 min.

        • Mark E.

          February 17, 2022 at 12:12 pm

          Health insurance will cover enough physical therapy and chiro coverage to get you healed. It won’t allow overtreatment or multiple modalities or other ‘soft fraud’ like No Fault does which leads to higher premiums than should be necessary. That’s why No Fault states always have higher premiums. They allow too much treatment that is unnecessary. Plus since No Fault pays almost full price (if not always full sticker price) it means you get more treatment for the price when you are covered by your health insurance rather than first party medical benefits. There are other insurance products you can buy to cover lost wages like AFLAC’s Disability coverage and you can buy collision/comp from your auto insurance company.

  • martin

    February 10, 2022 at 3:39 pm

    Does anyone else find it fishy that an article such as this, the topic of which can have an immediate and long-lasting affect upon all Florida drivers, is pulled from the front page within hours? While other articles, which have little to no significance remain on the front page forever., ie.. Gonzaga yanking someone’s season ticket for not wearing a face mask.
    The editorial slant of this publication leans more to the yellow side of journalism everyday.

  • Timison

    February 12, 2022 at 9:28 am

    “..your health insurance WILL absolutely cover the costs of your care.”
    Ok Mark, tell that to all the people with high deductible health insurance policies, those with deductibles of 2-3-5k or more. You must be totally out of the insurance market not to comprehend that. Or you are a personal injury lawyer. Which is it?
    2nd; tell us why all of the major auto insurers have spoken up against this year after year?
    They know that the only people who stand to benefit are the car crash lawyers like Grall.

  • Mark E.

    February 17, 2022 at 4:58 pm

    This is from an article just this month: “The third critical factor is fraud. PIP fraud is rampant throughout the state, and PIP litigation has become a highly lucrative cottage industry. While this reform may address both of these costly problems, fraud is not going away. I began my career investigating insurance fraud in south-central Los Angeles, where there is no PIP. It is a tort system used by cappers to enlist pawns to stage accidents and pursue third-party BI claims. Until fraud in Florida is addressed with specificity, it will continue at an ever-increasing rate.”
    It’s from National Underwriter magazine: https://www.propertycasualty360.com/2022/02/14/floridas-faux-no-fault-fix-the-saga-continues/?slreturn=20220117165653
    Clearly not dribble. I back my statements up with facts and not personal attacks. I’d hope the same in this debate.

    • Maximus

      February 18, 2022 at 6:31 pm

      This from the author of your link: ‘The elimination of PIP creates its own new set of challenges. While it is one less coverage that will be prone to fraud, the shenanigans we see today will simply be pushed to BI and UM (uninsured motorist) line coverages, so any savings will be dubious at best.’
      He also states: ‘ I began my career investigating insurance fraud in south-central Los Angeles, where there is no PIP. It is a tort system used by cappers to enlist pawns to stage accidents and pursue third-party BI claims.’
      Your article proves nothing but stating there is rampant fraud in PIP, yet the author admits there is fraud in alternative systems without PIP. Fraudsters on both sides, players and insurance carriers will exist in any system. Your article proved nothing. I doubt DeSantis will sign any PIP repeal bill that comes out of the legislature in an election year. Carry on. Good try. I’ve evaluated and reviewed more PIP cases than you I’d wager being paid by the carriers who requested those reviews. Very few of those cases contained fraud. There was some but not rampant as you claim.

      • Mark E.

        February 22, 2022 at 12:04 pm

        Look at the top ten states with the highest average auto insurance rates. Most are PIP states. PIP was started back in the early 1970s when something like 29 states dropped their BI system in favor of PIP thinking it would bring down premiums and lower legal costs. But today only 9 states still have PIP because they realized it was a mistake and raised costs, not lowered them. You can keep the No Fault system if you want, but just know it means you will be getting ripped off paying higher premiums than you would if you just adopted a BI system and let the health system help constrain excessive health costs.

  • H.R

    February 18, 2022 at 5:52 pm

    PEOPLE PEOPLE PEOPLE,
    Repealing PIP puts a lot of good people, hard-working people in a difficult spot. Repealing PIP and then adding DRIVING WITHOUT INSURANCE is a mandatory 7-10 days in jail. That alone will change a lot of issues and there will be NO more uninsured motorists. That will then result in all providers being paid for service rendered and the injured treated for their injuries.
    A second result will be many fraudulent healthcare practices will fold because payment will be available, but not 30 days later. REPEAL PIP

  • Adam

    February 22, 2022 at 6:36 am

    Mandatory Bi is the way to go. Clearly all the people in here against mandatory bi are either medical providers or insurance representatives. I have seen first hand how fraudulent pip can be. Especially with those greedy chiropractors. I know many that won’t even take a patient in a car accident that doesn’t have Pip. Without PIP the greedy chiropractors and those types of sort will lose large amounts of income on fraudulent services. Ever go to a chiro? What a joke they are. There is a reason why almost every state requires mandatory bi. We are one of the ridiculous few that just don’t see the light unfortunately. Pip needs to be repealed immediately! Rampant fraud. Just type in pip fraud Florida in Google and it speaks for itself.

    • Maximus

      February 22, 2022 at 1:08 pm

      Better to remain silent and be thought a fool versus opening one’s mouth removing all doubt.

Comments are closed.


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