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Insurance Consumer Advocate

Tasha Carter

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Tallahassee, FL 32399-0308

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New PIP will reduce insurance rates


By: Jeff Atwater

The Miami Herald

This year the Legislature, with the support of Gov. Scott and many others, passed meaningful reforms to the state’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) system that will have a positive effect for Florida’s drivers by targeting fraud, reducing costs and making our roads safer.

Its purpose was to reduce skyrocketing auto insurance premiums for Florida drivers. But change doesn’t happen overnight. We will not be able to fully analyze the savings these measures will generate for Florida’s consumers until late 2013.

Our first opportunity to measure the legislation’s effectiveness will come in July with the creation of a PIP Fraud Strike Force. The strike force, along with the Division of Insurance Fraud, will look for ways to reduce fraud in the system as well as monitor for new fraud scams trying to circumvent anti-fraud provisions. It will identify tools to assist in the investigation and prosecution of PIP fraud and seek funding and donations to fund such initiatives.

In September, the Office of Insurance Regulation, overseen by Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, will contract with an independent consultant to calculate the expected savings from the new law. I have instructed Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Westcott to play an active role in the selection of the consultant and review of the results to ensure all factors are properly evaluated and consumers are fairly represented in the process.

In October, automobile insurers must make a rate filing showing a reduction in rate of at least 10 percent or provide a detailed explanation as to why they were unable to provide their policyholders with such a reduction.

The bulk of the PIP reforms passed this session go into effect in January 2013. These reforms will allow consumers to get the care they need following an accident while ensuring that only legitimate claims are paid. In short, these new provisions help return PIP to its original mission — to provide emergency care following an auto accident for those who may not have other healthcare options regardless of who is at fault.

These are the reforms that will get at the root of the abuses occurring in the current PIP system and will go a long way in reducing automobile insurance rates.

Jeff Atwater, state chief financial officer, Tallahassee

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/09/2791612/new-pip-will-reduce-insurance.html#storylink=cpy