PIP…Now’s the Time!

Okay…everybody who thinks Florida’s No-Fault (Personal Injury Protection) system is working as it should…raise your hand. 

Just as I thought…Nobody!

That’s the saddest thing about the state of PIP; not even those who support its retention believe it’s working. They want the status to remain quo for reasons ranging from outright greed to “we don’t want to change anything we’re doing.”

And, how frustrating it is to have taken so many train rides to the same destination.

Following a frightening 2000 grand jury report exposing massive systemic abuse,  lawmakers implemented reforms in 2002 and again in 2003 and, when that proved insufficient, again in 2007.  Even though a senate study showed losses for insurer’s would go down and prices for consumers would drop without it, lawmakers overrode their scheduled sunset of the act and, inexplicably, continued PIP in 2007.

Then, in 2010, when reforms couldn’t even get to the floor for a vote they were made part of an Issue Brief (2012-203) by the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee setting the stage for another lackluster effort last year.

Don’t get me wrong–the original 2012 bill, CS/HB-119, would’ve done the trick.  It scalpeled malignancies from the system; lawyers, acupuncturists, massage therapists, criminals and accident fakers and, those who now challenge the acts constitutionality…Chiropractors.

But, lawmaker’s blinked…again! 

Now Leon County Judge, Terry Lewis, has issued a temporary injunction calling into question, for the umpteenth time, whether we need to keep our fraud drenched automobile reparations system. His ruling was “stayed” pending appeal, but…his decision expressed concern that last year’s reforms may have taken too many services away from too many people…

“…which services, from which people?” some may ask.

Anyway, more lawmakers are now poised to ditch PIP than ever before–including Chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs) and last year’s Senate sponsor, Joe Negron (R-Palm City). In fact, the chances of repeal look good enough that Chiropractors should second guess their decision to challenge the act.(See NOTE #1 below for Media Reports)

Fact is, despite being one of the most overworked public insurance mechanisms in Florida history, No-Fault hasn’t worked for decades.

And, guess what! It hasn’t worked anywhere else either.

After it swept the country during the 1970’s most states either did away with No-fault or enacted skimpy hybrids.  The “name only” laws of the 12 remaining states are so eroded by lawyers, courts and crooks they barely resemble the original first party concept.

Four states – Nevada, Georgia, Connecticut and Colorado – have recently repealed mandatory PIP  altogether.  The most recent to do so, Colorado, saw the average injury payment per vehicle drop from $306 to $223 the first year.

But…not in gumptionless Florida!

Here, an angry chorus of strange bedfellows has the rostrum: insurers and lawyers; doctors and Chiropractors; big and small business and, yes…even some insurance agents.  No-fault is so bad even trial lawyers like it–a “first party” payment system designed to exclude them.  Hospitals love the automatic funding source. Health insurer’s direct claimants to their auto carrier and the Auto JUA reports that its huge spike in fraudulent claims seems to emanate from the same handful of insurance agents.

Absolutely everybody thinking of themselves, while too few lawmakers think of consumers.

Now’s the time–the time for the madness to stop and for the intended beneficiaries of PIP, premium payers, to get what they deserve…NO MORE PIP!           

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NOTE #1:

Health News Florida

PIP Ruling May Force Revision of Law

http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/pip-ruling-may-force-revision-law

Lakeland Ledger

Gov. Scott Vows to Fight for PIP Law

http://www.theledger.com/article/20130322/NEWS/130329807/1003/news01?Title=Gov-Scott-Vows-to-Fight-for-PIP-Law

Orlando Business Journal

Judge says PIP changes go too far; Gov. Scott vows to keep them in place

http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/news/2013/03/21/judge-says-pip-changes-go-too-far.html

Palm Beach Post

Gov. Scott defends car insurance overhaul but does not rule out scrapping PIP

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/business/gov-scott-defends-car-insurance-overhaul-but-does-/nWzmB/

Panama City News Herald

Gutting PIP reform

http://www.newsherald.com/opinions/editorials/gutting-pip-reform-1.115357

Property Casualty 360

Despite Rate Increases, Strong Underwriting Improvement Elusive for Auto Insurers

http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2013/03/21/despite-rate-increases-strong-underwriting-improve?ref=hp

Property Casualty 360

Top 3 and Bottom 3 Most Expensive U.S. States for Car Insurance

http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2013/03/21/top-3-and-bottom-3-most-expensive-us-states-for-ca?ref=hp

South Florida Business Journal 

Gov. Scott to fight ruling against auto insurance PIP changes

http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/blog/morning-edition/2013/03/judge-says-pip-changes-go-too-far.html

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