On January 10, 2022, a bill was filed in the House of Representatives seeking to harm Florida consumers and your patients by repealing the swift payment structure provided under PIP and leaving your hopes of payment in the wind to be attacked by PI lawyers after years of litigation and reductions. On January 11, 2022, a similar bill was introduced in the Florida Senate.
We have been expecting this and we are organized and prepared to again fight on your behalf with very specific efforts to protect your continued revenue from PIP auto insurance.
Every driver in Florida is required to carry Personal Injury Protection insurance ("PIP") which provides a minimum of $10,000.00 for medical expenses and/or lost wages for people injured in a car accident regardless of who is at fault. The purpose of PIP is to provide quick payment of insurance benefits, providing Floridians with basic medical coverage when injured in a car accident.
PIP insurance is vital to Floridians because it gives immediate access to health care while the issue of fault is resolved through other means, which many times can take many months or years to resolve. Most Floridians cannot afford to pay for the health care necessary to treat injuries related to a car accident.
Those who believe PIP is both working and affordable effectively cite the fact that most insurance carriers in Florida refunded 15-20% of auto insurance premiums in 2020. Under the proposed legislation, this discount to Floridians will likely disappear.
The Florida legislature controls PIP through section 627.428, Fla. Stat. The last major revisions to the PIP statute took place in 2012 with the aim to reduce fraud and lower rates. The amendment enacted reimbursement fee schedules, precise time limitations, and enhanced anti-fraud measures.
Nevertheless, a few years ago, the Florida Justice Association (FJA) and other select advocates of repealing PIP began using the state of Colorado's repeal of PIP to illustrate how rates would decrease if Florida switched from a PIP (no-fault) system to a mandatory bodily injury (MBI) (tort) system.
Colorado abandoned repealed PIP in 2003 in favor of MBI. Initially, insurance premiums decreased, which the FJA latched onto and argued in committee meetings. Yet, Colorado’s auto insurance premiums are now rising rapidly. As a result:
The volume of auto insurance-related litigation is growing and so is the size of awards.
Colorado is now third in the nation for rising car insurance premiums.
Colorado is in the top 10/11 overall for the cost of auto insurance.
The FJA no longer mentions Colorado as an example when advocating for MBI.
“The last three years in a row, I’ve expressed my reservations about switching from PIP to BI because the outcome has shown an increase in insurance costs. I still have those reservations...I grew up in a service industry, I had employees that work from month to month, and if you increase their insurance rates by $15 or $18 a month, that’s real money to somebody’s pocket."
Who is complaining about PIP? Very few people, apparently. There is no public outcry against the current PIP system and therefore, given the evidence in Colorado, it would be a major miscalculation for Florida to make changes to the PIP Statute
Florida already has the highest number of uninsured drivers in the country at 26.7%.
Colorado stands at 16% uninsured drivers since switching to MBI.
If Florida changes the PIP Statute and insurance rates increase, rates will increase for people who currently only purchase mandatory coverage and the % of uninsured drivers will not decrease.
Over 100 million tourists visit the state annually, many driving the highways of the state. Many are either uninsured, or do not carry insurance that matches Florida coverage, rejecting insurance products offered by the rental car companies. The rental car companies are immune from liability.
For the multitudes of Floridians without health care insurance, this problem is compounded when an injured person cannot find a doctor to treat them without insurance. If they are able to find a doctor to treat them, they will accumulate growing medical bills while waiting for the resolution of their case. In contrast, PIP currently pays physicians within 30 days of submitting their billing.
Want to join our efforts but not sure where to start? Make a Donation and take advantage of this incredible opportunity to lend your support. Send a check payable to Floridians for Patient Access to 238 North Westmonte Drive, Suite 200, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714.
Contact your State Representative and Senator and ask them to reject this bill and keep auto insurances rate from being increased.