By Florida Governor Rick Scott
Honest Floridians pay the price for PIP fraud. That's the takeaway from meetings I attended around the state recently where PIP auto insurance fraud was the topic of discussion. PIP, or personal injury protection, is insurance coverage added to your overall auto policy that is intended to pay for medical and other expenses associated with a car crash, regardless of fault.
In Florida, a minimum of $10,000 PIP coverage is required with each policy. We pay the highest auto liability insurance premiums in the nation, 56 percent more than other states.
Unfortunately, Florida also leads the nation in staged accidents and questionable claims, which is why the number of crashes is going down, while the number of PIP claims and the cost of those claims is going up.
After receiving a PIP fraud update during the cabinet meeting in Tallahassee, Jeff Atwater, Florida's chief financial officer and I participated in listening meetings with Floridians in Tallahassee, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Miami to hear their concerns about PIP fraud and ideas for a solution.
We learned that if we do nothing, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation predicts a 29 percent PIP pure premium increase each year.
While the pure premium increase directly impacts the insurer, the costs get passed down to consumers through rate hikes, since insurers must raise rates to close the gap created by rapidly increasing fraud costs. In a time when we're working every day to get Florida's economy back on its feet, the last thing we need is fraudsters to cause auto insurance premiums to skyrocket and raise the cost of living in this state, something I have vowed to prevent as governor.
After listening to constituents affected by PIP fraud and their solutions to the problem, I announced four pillars that must be addressed to fix PIP: fraud prevention, litigation reform, utilization and provider reform and accountability. My expectation is that we will provide significant PIP reform this legislative session.
Florida consumers have already paid more than $800 million for PIP fraud over the last several years and enough is enough.
Florida needs better protections for consumers, and I am committed to holding the line on runaway premiums in order to fulfill my promise to keep the cost of living low and get our state back to work.
I encourage all Floridians with ideas for fixing PIP to email me at Rick.Scott@eog.myflorida.com or call your House and Senate members and let them know that you expect them to support PIP reform so we can reduce the cost of auto insurance in Florida.