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In July’s Florida Underwriter, I detailed the lead-up to the next fight on reforming Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and the no-fault system. With the 2012 session now upon us, that battle is well underway, along with others about many of the same issues from the 2011 session. Depopulating Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and shrinking the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, plugging the repackaged drug leak in the workers’ compensation system, and making some progress on bad faith reform all rank high on the agenda. An article on page 18 discusses the property issues, so let’s take a look here at how the PIP battle and the other issues are shaping up for the session ahead.

PIP ReformThe various state and national trade associations have worked together diligently since that July column to gather the simple facts of the problems with PIP, and present them to both policymakers and the public at large in every available forum. One of those forums was Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Westcott’s PIP Working Group. Under the leadership of CFO Jeff Atwater, Westcott led a series of hearings over the course of the early fall that resulted in her presentation of the report to the governor and Cabinet on Nov. 1, 2011. There, she described the PIP system as being riddled with fraud, to the estimated tune of $900 million. Westcott also described a system of rising premiums driven by staged accidents, unlicensed clinics, lawsuits, and higher average medical charges and procedures. The working group of auto insurers, health insurers, hospitals, medical and osteopathic doctors, chiropractors, lawyers, and consumers failed to produce any recommendations, though, because according to Westcott, “nobody agreed on anything.”

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