News Release: Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Makes Recommendations to Curb Fraud and Improve Personal Injury Protection Coverage
Nov 4, 2010
The Office of the Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate issued the following news release on November 4, 2010:
FLORIDA INSURANCE CONSUMER ADVOCATE MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS TO CURB FRAUD AND IMPROVE PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION COVERAGE
TALLAHASSEE – The interim Insurance Consumer Advocate, R. Terry Butler, Esq. delivered a report to legislative leadership yesterday detailing recommendations to improve Florida’s Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law.
Florida’s No-Fault Law requires registered motor vehicle owners and drivers to buy and maintain Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to provide coverage for medical expenses for minor injuries sustained in auto accidents. The No-Fault system is designed to reduce litigation by having the costs for treatment of minor injuries covered under each driver or owner’s PIP coverage regardless of who caused the accident. However, based on the 2010 National Insurance Crime Bureau’s report and testimony from professionals who handle PIP claims, it appears that PIP coverage is being abused. The Insurance Consumer Advocate’s recommendations are aimed at curbing fraudulent activities and ensuring that PIP coverage remains a cost-effective benefit to Florida’s drivers. These recommendations grew out of a roundtable convened by the Consumer Advocate’s Office to discuss problems in the No-Fault system with representatives of insurance companies, medical providers, health care clinics, fraud investigators, attorneys and state regulators.
The recommendations include:
- Increasing funding for investigating and prosecuting insurance fraud.
- Increasing penalties for those who participate in staged accidents or submit false PIP claims.
- Requiring currently exempt health care clinics to be licensed and regulated by the Agency for Health Care Administration if the clinic’s operations are more than 50% devoted to PIP claims or if medical services are offered outside of the scope of the owners’ practitioner’s license.
- Studying the feasibility of standardizing the claim handling procedures for insurers and health care providers.
- Developing standards for examinations under oath.
A copy of the report is posted on the Insurance Consumer Advocate’s website at: http://www.myfloridacfo.com/ICA/.