Insurance-backed PIP bills pass Senate Banking & Insurance Committee

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A pair of bills backers say would help reduce fraud and lower automobile insurance rates for all motorists passed the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee Tuesday by close votes that underscore the controversy surrounding the issue, reports the News Service of Florida. On a 7-4 vote, committee members approved a measure (SB 1930 ) making a series of changes pushed by insurance companies. But the battle is far from over. Insurance companies, providers, and claimants?attorneys agree the system is riddled with fraud, but that? where any consensus ends as combatants point fingers at each other over who is at fault over no-fault. Meanwhile, the bill? sponsor, Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, questioned the sincerity of many of the players in the fight, saying she hasn? heard from many of those who testified against the measure on Tuesday. Some committee members supporting the measure Tuesday, including Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said their support will evaporate in subsequent committees and on the floor if significant changes aren? made to ensure that insurnce companies quickly pay legitimate claims. The committee then passed another measure (SB 1694), which would cap attorney fees at $10,000 for personal injury claims. The measure, which passed on a 6-5 vote, sets up a tiered approach to attorneys fees that limits payment and sets up a payment scheduled based on the the amount of the award. The bill also allows insurers to conduct examinations under oath and require arbitration.

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.