Toward the end of 2011, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Chief Financial
Officer Jeff Atwater launched an initiative calling for massive reforms
to Florida’s no-fault
personal injury protection insurance.
According to a statement by Governor Scott, the cost of PIP insurance coverage
will rise by at least 29% every year if no action is taken, as the cost
is passed on directly to the motorists. Scott cited an example of a Tallahassee
woman whose insurance premium raised 60% solely as a result of relocating to Tampa.
The central and southern Florida region, including Tampa and Orlando, are
notorious for staged accidents, fraudulent pain clinics, and unethical
lawyer referral services, according to Jeff Atwater. The new initiative
hopes to prevent fraudsters from falsely obtaining PIP benefits while
still protecting those with legitimate injuries.
As a result of the campaign, Florida’s PIP law reform became effective
on January 1st, 2013. In hopes of combatting fraud, Florida accident victims
must now meet additional criteria before receiving benefits. The reform
includes tougher stipulations like proof of necessary medical emergency
treatment, a $2,500 benefit limit for non-emergency medical diagnoses,
a 60-90 day time period allotted to insurance companies to properly investigate
suspicious claims, and the ability for insurance companies to demand an
independent medical examination as a precondition to receiving PIP benefits.
The new law also excludes PIP payment for supplemental treatments such
as massage therapy and acupuncture, which were permitted under the old law.
Going into 2014, residents of central and southern Florida will learn if
the new law is truly effective based on whether or not auto insurance
premiums begin to decline gradually upon policy renewal.