The National Association of Independent Insurers reported that the special session of the Florida Legislature has ended with the passage of both personal injury protection (PIP) reform and workers’ compensation reform bills.
“Although the PIP reform bill includes some decent provisions, such as increased penalties for insurance fraud, we feel it falls short of what could have been accomplished,” said James S. Taylor, southeastern regional manager for the NAII. “However, significant gains were made in the passage of a comprehensive workers’ compensation reform bill, which reflects the recommendations of Florida businesses and insurers.”
The legislature passed CS/S.B. 32A, the auto PIP reform package, which includes a repeal of the state’s no-fault system unless the legislature re-enacts it in 2006. Other provisions include increasing penalties for soliciting accident victims and presenting false or fraudulent insurance applications; establishing minimum mandatory penalties for intentionally causing motor vehicle accidents and soliciting accident victims; and increasing the ranking of solicitation crimes and certain motor vehicle insurance fraud offenses.
The workers’ compensation bill, S.B. 50A, increases impairment and death benefits; improves coverage availability by making the state Joint Underwriting Association (JUA) more affordable; increases penalties for workers’ compensation fraud; and establishes alternative dispute resolution standards and limits attorneys’ payments to the fee schedule in current law.
The special session also passed S.B. 40A, which contained language that closely mirrors the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) model on the use of credit scoring in rating and underwriting.
“Workers’ comp and PIP reform were hot-button issues for the governor, and we’re pleased to note the legislators took action on these bills in the special session,” Taylor said. “And although the PIP reform bill is only a start, it gives Florida law enforcement and prosecutors a way to hold the fraud perpetrators’ feet to the fire.”
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