The ‘Put the Brakes on Accident Fraud’ Coalition today hit the airwaves with a television spot aimed at educating the public on Florida’s $1 billion accident fraud problem that is hurting families across the state. The broad coalition of Florida consumers, business leaders, law enforcement officials and concerned citizens urge lawmakers to take immediate action this session to ‘Put the Brakes on Accident Fraud and Abuse’ in the personal injury protection (PIP) system.
“Today, four Florida cities rank in the top 10 for stages crashes,” said Steve Casey, executive director of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “And, law enforcement is working hard to fight the fraudulent medical clinics, but we can’t keep up. These clinics exist for one purpose – to steal from our auto insurance, which forces us to pay higher premiums.”
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Florida insurance consumers pay 56 percent more than consumers in other states for automobile insurance. In addition the National Insurance Crime Bureau states that Florida led the nation in questionable insurance claims from 2007 to 2009, with four of the top 10 U.S. cities with the highest rate of questionable claims being right here in Florida: Tampa, Miami, Orlando and Hialeah.
“It is time that we close the legal loopholes that trial lawyers have exploited to increase accident lawsuits across our state. We hope that this television campaign will raise awareness on this billion dollar fraud problem that is plaguing Florida’s families. We must ‘Put the Brakes on Accident Fraud and Abuse’ this session,” concluded Casey.
This broad coalition has been vocal and active for months, urging lawmakers in the Senate and House to pass a comprehensive legislative solution to the PIP problem. The coalition urges lawmakers to include the following key elements to a comprehensive legislative PIP package:
- Reasonable limitations on attorneys’ fees to remove the incentive to file frivolous lawsuits at the expense of Florida drivers.
- Increased anti-fraud controls to identify suspicious claims and allow insurers time to investigate those claims to avoid unnecessary payments paid by innocent consumers.
- Enhanced controls on medical costs, through clarification of the medical fee schedule and other tools that rein in high utilization of questionable medical procedures, the costs of which are passed on to consumers.