[Tallahassee, FL] Florida is home to a type of insurance fraud that Gov. Rick Scott and others say is costing motorists almost $1 billion a year in higher car-insurance premiums – PIP Insurance Fraud.
Scott kicked off the drive to change things, holding a press conference with Cabinet members, law enforcement officers and industry lobbyists and blaming staged crashes, bogus clinics and unnecessary medical procedures for raising the cost of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.
“It’s a $900 million tax on consumers,” Scott told reporters and lobbyists representing physicians, hospitals, plaintiff’s attorneys, providers and insurance companies. “.. Crashes are down but costs are up. That makes absolutely no sense. It’s happening because our current laws are being taken advantage of.”
Scott posted a dramatic video on YouTube of a staged car crash (above) to illustrate his point.
The next day, the Florida Legislature began gauging proposals that would make a number of changes to rules surrounding the $10,000 benefit created in the 1970s to encourage injured motorists to seek medical attention and stay out of court.
A House proposal would limit rates and the number of chiropractic or massage treatments within a 12-month period for accident victims, cap attorneys fees for legal cases and ban benefits to recipients who submit fraudulent or exaggerated claims. Insurance companies would also face new regulations.
The Senate also began looking at efforts to craft a solution at a midweek hearing. Likely areas would include placing restrictions or bans on attorney referral services, a move supported by Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater. Sen. Joe Negron (R-28/Stuart) hinted other likely areas to be addressed include requiring clinics to be headed by physicians, and some limitations on the number of procedures allowed during the course of treatment.
But supporters of the PIP Insurance Fraud crackdown saw a potential speed bump in the fierce debate in the Florida Legislature ahead.
“It’s going to be a war,” said House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee Chairman Bryan Nelson (R-38/Apopka). “It’s not a bill that everybody is going to say yes, yes, yes. the chiropractors won’t like it, the docs maybe won’t like it, the trial attorneys won’t like it.”
By: Brandon Larrabee/The News Service of Florida. Additional reporting by Mark Christopher
PIP Insurance Fraud