Tweaking of no-fault insurance ongoing

Dec 15, 2011

The following article was published in the Winter Haven News Chief on December 15, 2011:

Tweaking of no-fault insurance ongoing

By Michael Peltier

As others wrangle over how to tweak the state’s no-fault auto insurance system, Rep. Mike Horner has a different idea.

Just get rid of it.

Late Monday, the Kissimmee Republican filed a measure (HB 1007) to repeal the state’s requirement that all drivers carry personal injury protection insurance. The no-fault coverage, commonly referred to as PIP, has drawn increasing fire from critics who say the $10,000 policy is wrought with fraud and mired in litigation.

Horner’s bill is expected to join a handful of other measures – some that repeal the coverage and other that make major modifications – to face lawmakers this session as both Gov. Rick Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater push for significant reforms.

“There will be dual tracks going forward in the session, said Sam Miller, vice president of the Florida Insurance Council.

Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart and Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, are sponsoring measures that would make changes to the existing PIP system without dismantling it. Backers of that approach have said despite its flaws, the no-fault system is critical for motorists, many of whom have no other health coverage. Further, hospitals, chiropractors and others rely on such coverage for payments.

Sen. David Simmons, R-Maitland, is expected to file a similar no-fault repealer bill in the Senate.

Horner’s bill would require motorists to carry mandatory emergency payments coverage, which would provide pay for medical coverage by a more limited array of providers.

Motorists would be required to carry $10,000 in emergency payments coverage, which would pay 80 percent of emergency services rendered by qualified providers. Motorists would also have to carry additional body injury coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident. Property damage coverage of $10,000 would also be required.

Eligible providers would be limited to hospitals, emergency rooms, and physicians’ practices in contrast with the existing PIP system that pays a wider range of providers including private non-physician owned clinics and massage therapists.

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