Monday, January 24, 2011

PIP beginning to get attention

Since its sunset and revival, personal injury protection auto insurance (PIP) has taken a way-back seat to property insurance issues.  Now PIP is beginning to get airtime.  The most recent developments are:
  • Florida's new Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater, barely a week after taking office, posted on his web a “pledge[] to fight insurance fraud.”
  • The Miami Herald published PIP: The insurance that crooks can't stop scamming (Jan. 15, 2011).
  • The Orlando Sentinel published an article on PIP attorneys fees, Legal battles over tiny sums may be costing you big bucks (Jan. 24, 2011).
  • The House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee will take up PIP fraud at its meeting on Wednesday, January 26.
  • The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has initiated a PIP data call, directed to the top 25 PIP writers.
Here are a couple of highlights from the publications:
Atwater elaborates on the problems of PIP fraud by stating: “Three of the top five cities in the country for staged auto accidents are in FloridaTampa, Miami and Orlando.  Organized fraud rings recruit willing participants, fake an accident in which no one is injured, and send the participants to medical clinics or chiropractic offices for treatments that never occur.  The clinics fraudulently bill auto insurance companies . . .”  See the full release at 
In its article, the Miami Herald states that "the no-fault nature of PIP is irresistible to crooks who stage phony accidents or simply submit bogus claims for non-existent medical treatment" and "[a]lmost since PIP became a part of Florida law in 1972, the insurance coverage has been a vehicle for fraud."  See the full article at: PIP: The insurance that crooks can't stop scamming.
According to the Orlando Sentinel: "In Broward County, a $3,700 dispute meant a payout of about $90,000 for the winning lawyers.  Thousands of lawsuits like this are being filed against insurance companies in Florida over medical bills from auto accidents.  Disputes over a few hundred dollars or less can mean huge payouts for the attorneys doing the suing, and, according to state regulators, higher premiums for all Florida drivers."  See the full article at: Legal battles over tiny sums may be costing you big bucks.
The OIR data call may be downloaded from this link: See

Perry Cone practices insurance, compliance and government law, and provides consulting to in-house counsel, from the Tallahassee office of GrayRobinson. He writes from his perspective as a former general counsel, executive, and leader in the Florida insurance industry. Visit Perry's blog at

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