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Bailing Out Insurance Companies in Florida — Whether they need it or not.


Do insurance companies in Florida need a piece of bailout legislation?

Florida legislators seem dedicated to providing some legislation this year to deal with fraud occurring in the arena of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage.

PIP is a part of required coverage for auto owners in Florida. In the event of an accident, PIP provides up to $10,000 of payments for medical treatment and lost wages, regardless of fault. If someone hits me and I am injured, I do not have to rely on my health insurance (if I have it) or resort to suing the at fault driver in order to receive some amount of treatment.

Florida Republicans have bemoaned civil lawsuits; claiming that jury verdicts and the number of lawsuits are out of control. Putting aside that no reliable evidence to support this claim exists, the PIP legislation that most House members and our Governor want passed would place many in the position of being compelled to file a lawsuit in order to pay for medical treatment or to recoup lost wages.

In the midst of an economy in which paying for medical costs out of pocket or losing wages could devastate families, we have legislators who have spent enormous energies on trying to reform instead of enforce.

Fraud in the PIP system is clearly a reality. But, should consumers be punished for fraud for which they have no culpability?

Should insurance companies be provided with legislation that will allow them to more easily deny claims, limit coverage and better profit from premiums?

Do insurance companies have any responsibility for making efforts to combat fraud in a system in which they desire to make money? Would we bailout a retail chain if shop lifting became rampant or would we expect retailers to help themselves and enlist the aid of law enforcement?

The Senate’s version of the PIP legislation is not as severe as the House’s version. The House version would, from a practical standpoint, provide no coverage in a large percentage of cases.

When will we citizens stop accepting the better of two evils from our lawmakers? When will lawmakers begin looking out for us citizens?

Perhaps we need to make ourselves heard?

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