CFO Atwater wants to wait for court ruling before deciding to scrap PIP law

in Uncategorized by

State Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater may recommend replacing Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system only if an Appeals Court overturns parts of the reform he supported in 2012.

Chris Cate, spokesperson for Atwater, sent out an email saying the CFO will continue to support the effort to reverse growing fraud in the “no-fault” auto-insurance system, otherwise known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP).

Atwater’s position could change, Cate added if the 1st District Court of Appeal rules in favor of the challenge to the 2012 law, brought on by chiropractors, acupuncturists and massage therapists.

“The CFO is awaiting the results of the judicial process with interest,” Cate’s email said. “If these cost cutting reforms — intended to lower consumers premiums — are thrown out by the courts, the CFO would be interested in preparing a replacement coverage for Florida drivers to ensure that their household budgets are not again crippled by soaring PIP premiums.”

In a March 20 ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis, the law illegally prevents accident victims from applying PIP claims to pay for treatment by alternative medicine providers such as massage therapists and acupuncturists. The law also limits the services from chiropractors.

Lewis also found fault with lower limits mandated by the law on the amount paid for non-emergency medical care.

The appellate court is currently considering the decision. 

Banking and Insurance Chair Sen. David Simmons, told reporters last week he will move forward with a plan to do away with no-fault, something called for by a number of insurance officials. Simmons proposes using bodily-injury coverage as a replacement for PIP.

In an email from Gov. Rick Scott’s office, the governor is “reviewing the concept” of Simmons’ pending legislation. Scott joined Atwater in 2012 to push auto insurance reforms.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.