Florida Senate moving again to scrap “no-fault” coverage

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As the Legislature prepares to consider scrapping Florida’s no-fault insurance coverage, an earlier attempt to reform the system sits in court.

The new proposal could come before a committee by November, and the Insurance industry is anxious to see what the latest package will have in store.

Sen. David Simmons, Senate Banking and Insurance chair, told the News Service of Florida the insurance industry asked him to introduce the measure, but they do not expect attempted reforms to the state’s auto insurance Personal Injury Protection (PIP) system to succeed.

The First District Court of Appeals will decide on an earlier attempt by the Legislature’s to replace the PIP law. A group of chiropractors, acupuncturists and other alternative medicine practitioners brought the action, saying reform prevents them from having lawful access to the courts.

“I’ve had several of our major insurance companies come to me and say that they are ready to move on, and that’s irrespective of a First District Court of Appeal ruling,” Simmons said. “They’re saying that the system is broke, we acknowledge it’s broken, it’s difficult to fix the unfixable.”

Regardless of the Appeals Court ruling, the measure will reach the state Supreme Court.

Gov. Rick Scott signed the 2012 law, requiring automobile accident victims to seek treatment within 14 days, with limits $10,000 in benefits for emergency and $2,500 for non-emergency medical conditions.

In March, a Leon County judge ruled the law barred accident victims from applying PIP payments to massage therapists and acupuncturists. Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis also ruled the law limited access to chiropractors.

The legislature will revisit the PIP system, which the industry claims puts more cases into the court system as injured parties attempt to recoup medical expenses from at-fault drivers.

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.