Florida’s failure to repeal PIP could cost drivers more in the future



Almost 20% of drivers on the road in Florida have no insurance. This is one of the highest percentages in the country. (Photo: PhotoSpirit / Adobe Stock)

With a veto, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis kept Injury Protection (PIP) and all the shenanigans that come with it alive. I will be the first to admit that this bill was far from perfect, but it was a much needed start.

According to the governor’s office, there were concerns that this could lead to an increase in bonuses. What is missing from this concern is that Florida does not currently require motorists to have personal injury coverage. So, yes, motorists who currently do not have personal injury coverage would likely have seen their premiums go up. However, they would have been more than offset by not having to pay for PIP, a cover riddled with fraud, waste and abuse. As for the rest of Florida drivers who have full coverage, they would likely have seen their premiums drop, especially for coverage for Uninsured Motorists (UM) and Underinsured Motorists (UIM), who are currently among the top drivers. highest in the country.

Look ahead

Why would a governor who usually does things correctly be wrong? There are probably many reasons, but first and foremost is that next year is an election year. The governor was under enormous pressure from lobbyists to veto the bill. While the concern that those who can less afford it have to pay more for insurance is valid, consumers should not lose sight of the fact that Florida has had bad legislation for years by not requiring insurance. liability insurance for anyone who drives a motor vehicle. In fact, Florida is only one of two states that does not require BI coverage.

So what’s the best way forward for Florida? We know the Sunshine State is the fraud capital of America. PIP is a big factor in this, but getting rid of PIP would simply move fraud providers from first party coverage to third party coverage.

As we learned from my insurance fraud thrillers, “Swoop & Squat ” and “Deep state”, The prevalence of fraud is due to the abundance of insurance coverage with huge financial incentive and low risk of penalty. Having one less line of coverage to investigate, fight, and defend would be a victory for consumers and insurers. Getting rid of PIP should be paramount in any future litigation.

Address the issues

But the legislature needs to do better than SB 54. Almost 20% of road drivers in the state have no insurance. This is one of the highest percentages in the country. A valid concern expressed by insurers was that SB 54 would lead to an increase in the number of uninsured motorists. While potentially true, it should have been dealt with. There must be severe penalties for driving a motor vehicle on the road without insurance. Some states have put in place such penalties preventing uninsured drivers from suing for uneconomic loss. It is a fair approach that has been very successful.

The state must also look beyond insurance to the root causes of our excessively high auto insurance rates. One of the major contributors is arguably Florida as a jurisdiction of sheer comparative negligence. This means that regardless of the fault, a person is allowed to take legal action, even if they are 99% responsible for the accident. Most states have amended negligence laws that prohibit such litigation where a person is primarily responsible for a loss, which is a sane and fair approach Florida should take.

While the legislature addressed bad faith in SB 54, it did not include overly effective language and likely would not have resulted in a noticeable reduction in bad faith litigation. A better approach might be to include good faith legislation that provides insurers with the necessary steps to always act in good faith when handling claims.

The real problem with the SB 54 veto is that it sends the wrong message to consumers who are rightfully concerned about rising insurance rates and the excessive litigation plaguing the courts in Florida. In this case, the lobbyists have scored a clear victory, while the governor is likely to see his veto less and less of an issue in next year’s campaign, which is probably true.

Hopefully the legislature makes another attempt to repeal PIP, but I guess nothing significant would happen until at least 2023, if ever.

Christopher Tidball is an executive claims consultant with over 30 years of experience in the auto insurance industry. He is the author of several books, including Re-Adjusted: Taking Your Claims Organization From Ordinary to Extraordinary, the insurance fraud thriller, Deep State, and the television script, The Adjuster. To learn more, visit www.christidball.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.



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