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PIP workgroup to release its report on Tuesday

Christine Jordan Sexton, Florida Tribune

October 26, 2011

Expect to see a report on Florida's personal injury protection (PIP) from the state's insurance consumer advocate next week.

The Office of Insurance Consumer Advocate says that a "well-documented report" will be released Tuesday, just before the Florida Cabinet meets again. Robin Westcott, the statewide insurance consumer advocate, will review the report with Cabinet members.

The report will discuss Florida's no-fault insurance system and some of the fraudulent practices that bedevil it. It will not contain any recommendations for what the Legislature should do about the system during the 2012 session.

Personal injury protection insurance -- and whether it's fixed or "flushed" -- is expected to be the No. 1 insurance issue of the 2012 session. Westcott assembled a group of lobbyists, insurance executives and consumer advocates in an attempt to ferret out problems.

Florida requires drivers to have $10,000 of personal injury protection. which compensates persons injured in accidents regardless of fault and property damage insurance. Personal injury protection coverage provides reimbursement for 80 percent of reasonable medical expenses, 60 percent of loss of income and 100 percent of replacement services, for bodily injury sustained in a motor vehicle accident without regard to fault.

The property damage liability coverage must provide a $10,000 minimum benefit. A $5,000 death benefit is also provided.

The PIP working group met four times to discuss PIP fraud,such as staged accidents, and the broader issue of abuse, which has included everything from attorney's fees to utilization of health care services.

Several PIP-related bills filed so far for the upcoming legislative session. They include HB 119, HB 485, SB 134, SB 254, SB 286, SB 400 and HB 544.