Jacksonville, FL (AP) - Gov. Rick Scott has signed a bill designed to crack down on rampant fraud in Florida's no-fault automobile insurance system.
Even before Friday's signing ceremony in Jacksonville, though, some were working on ways to exploit a loophole in the legislation.
Existing state law requires motorists to purchase personal injury protection coverage. It pays for injuries and lost wages up to $10,000 regardless of who is at fault in a crash.
Fraudsters submit bogus injury claims and stage fake accidents, aided and abetted by some treatment providers.
The new legislation puts a 14-day limit on seeking treatment. Benefits are capped at $2,500 unless a doctor determines the injured person has an "emergency medical condition."
At least one company is offering to send doctors to chiropractors' offices to do that.
-FROM THE FLORIDA OFFICE OF INSURANCE REGULATION-
Office Statement from Florida Commissioner Kevin McCarty
May 4, 2012
The passage of HB 119, signed by Gov. Scott today, was due to a collaborative effort involving businesses, consumers, law enforcement and public officials who together identified that PIP fraud was directly contributing to auto insurance rate increases. The Office issued a data call and shared its results and findings with the Governor and Cabinet, which ultimately resulted in the bill signing today. With the signing of HB 119, everyone involved in this process should share the credit in bringing this bill to fruition. A timeline of significant events that contributed to the passage of this important legislation is below.
Timeline of Important Events:
January 13, 2011 – Office issues PIP data call to the industry
April 11, 2011 – Office issues: Report on Review of the 2011 PIP Data Call
August 16, 2011 – Office Cabinet Presentation on PIP Data
December, 2011 – Consumer Advocate Issues: Report on Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Insurance (Personal Injury Protection)
January, 2012 – Representative Boyd (HB 119) and Senator Negron (SB 1860) file bills involving PIP Reform
January 24, 2012 – PIP Rally at the Capital featuring Gov. Scott, CFO Atwater, Commissioner McCarty and others
January 27, 2012 – Commissioner McCarty Issues Letter-to-the-Editor “Getting Back to Basics: Fixing the PIP Problem.”
February 7, 2012 – Put the Brakes on Accident Fraud Media Availability
March 2, 2012 – Office Releases Preliminary 2011 Financial PIP Data
March 8, 2012 – PIP Press Conference in Governor’s Office --- Gov. Scott, CFO Atwater, and Commissioner McCarty take questions from the press