Filed Under:Carrier Innovations, Regulation/Legislation

A Legislative Forecast

Our industry entered the 2011 legislative session with high hopes. A pro-business governor and Republican-controlled legislature led us to believe they would be receptive to ideas that remove unwarranted restrictions and get the economy on a fast-track to recovery. As Gary Fineout notes in his Capital Report on page 17, things are not turning out quite as we expected. Here’s a look at some of the major insurance bills and their current chances on becoming law.

PIP FRAUD – HB 967/SB 1694 and HB 1411/SB 1930
We’ll start off easy. This one is truly a no-brainer. PIP fraud is driving up motorists’ insurance costs in Florida to frightening levels (see Lynne McChristian’s column on page 14). This may be the year legislators finally demolish the cadre of fraud rings, sham PIP clinics, staged crashes, and pretend passengers. The problem has received a generous amount of positive media attention thanks to aggressive and collaborative actions from industry, consumer, and government groups. We just need to settle on one set of bills.

Forecast: Sunny.

PROPERTY BILL – SB 408/HB 803
This legislation addresses cost drivers, deceptive trade practices by public adjusters, sinkholes, insurer surplus, and more. William Stander of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America calls the legislation “a great step forward toward restoring private, market-based solutions in Florida.” Opponents have been vocal, confrontational, and relentless—it’s almost like having Charlie Crist back in town.

The bill has been inundated with proposed amendments, most of which have failed in committee hearings. (Although an amendment that keeps in place current state law requiring insurers to pay replacement cost in advance of repairs being made, instead of allowing insurers to hold back a portion of payment until a policyholder shows receipts for part of the work, did pass—for now.)

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