Poll finds overwhelming support for reforms to Florida? PIP laws

in Uncategorized by

More than nine of 10 Floridians support cracking down on automobile insurance fraud, reveals a statewide poll released today by the Sunshine Alliance to Erase Fraud. The poll comes ahead of Tuesday? Senate Banking and Insurance Committee hearing on legislative reforms to protect consumers and provide law enforcement with more tools to combat widespread personal injury protection (PIP) fraud.

?t is clear that Floridians from all backgrounds overwhelmingly support reforming Florida? anti-fraud PIP laws. These reforms will protect consumers and help reduce costly staged crashes that are prowling for profits and have spread like a smog bank around the state,?said Walt Dartland, Co-Chair of the Sunshine Alliance to Erase Fraud. ?he time is now for Florida? lawmakers to act by passing meaningful PIP fraud reform.?

Among the poll? key findings:

  • Nine out of 10 Floridians support tougher laws to crack down on auto insurance fraud (93 percent);
  • Tougher PIP fraud laws are overwhelmingly supported by Floridians from every political background (supported by 92 percent of Democrats, 93 percent of Republicans and 93 percent of Independents);
  • PIP fraud reforms receive strong support from both men and women (94 percent of men, 92 percent of women).

Conducted from April 4 to April 7, the poll was commissioned by the Sunshine Alliance to Erase Fraud and was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research of Washington, DC. The poll has a margin of error of + or ?3.5 percent. A total of 800 registered voters were interviewed statewide by telephone. All respondents indicated they vote regularly in state elections.

The Sunshine Alliance to Erase Fraud is a statewide alliance of consumer advocates, insurers and government agencies that supports legislative reforms to save consumers money and crack down on rampant staged-accident rings that are looting Florida? no-fault system and raising auto premiums for all drivers.

The Alliance supports two bills (SB 1930 and HB 1411) this Session to crack down on motor vehicle personal injury protection insurance (PIP) fraud. The anti-fraud measures include stiffer penalties for unscrupulous actors gaming the system, provide law enforcement with more tools to fight PIP fraud, and protect consumers from staged automobile crashes.

Florida is the nation? ground zero for PIP fraud. Florida leads the nation in generating suspicious claims involving staged crashes, according to findings by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Tampa, Miami and Orlando rank among the top five cities nationally for suspected staged accidents according to the NCIB.

Staged crashes and bogus medical treatment will add about $1 billion in fraud costs to Florida? no-fault auto system by the end of 2011 if the current trends continue, says the Insurance Information Institute. Cumulative costs of auto-insurance fraud from 2009 through 2011 could exceed $1.5 billion if nothing else is done to address the problem, III says.

A full version of the poll results can be found here.

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.