State Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater wouldn’t say the Senate is being premature in starting to look into replacing the state’s no-fault auto insurance system before recent changes can take hold. But he would prefer lawmakers wait to see if the changes do make a difference, reports Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida.
“Certainly by this time next year we will have known whether the changes we have made are working,” Atwater said. “I feel like we did a really good job in getting cost drivers out and fraud out so honest people can get a fair and better price, and I’d like to see it played out.
“But it’s the Legislature’s call,” added Atwater, who was a big backer of the 2012 law aimed at reducing fraud to lower costs. . And if they believe that they are not seeing the change yet … I want to listen.”
On Tuesday, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee began looking at the possibility of replacing Personal Injury Protection, known as PIP, following a ruling by a Tallahassee circuit court judge that blocked new measures put in place last year aimed at reducing fraud.
Committee Chairman Sen. David Simmons expressed confidence that if lawmakers were to decide to move forward with a bill to replace the no-fault system that premium prices for most Florida drivers would come down.
If the state were to use a bodily injury coverage system as the bargain basement of coverage, the trade off might be more litigation, which is limited by the no-fault system.
Backers of the 2012 no-fault reform had hoped that nearly 70 percent of the cost in claims before last year’s law would be eliminated with the end of repayments for non-emergency massage therapy and acupuncture treatment.
However, Circuit Judge Terry Lewis sided with a claim by chiropractors and massage therapists that the law illegally prevents accident patients from using PIP claims to pay for their treatment.
The state has filed an appeal.