Gear Up Florida Coalition Launches to Combat Personal Injury Protection Fraud
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The Gear Up Florida Coalition, comprised of Florida residents, law enforcement agencies and business associations, is dedicated to protecting Florida’s insurance consumers from soaring costs resulting from the criminal abuse of Florida’s no-fault law.
“We want to end automobile accident fraud and the organized systems that support it,” said Associated Industries of Florida General Counsel Tammy Perdue. “Legislative action in 2012 is essential to protect Florida’s businesses and insurance consumers from what government officials have called, ‘a nearly $1 billion fraud tax on Florida Consumers.’”
As a result of accident fraud, Florida insurance consumers pay 56 percent more than consumers in other states for automobile insurance premiums – an average of $736 in Florida versus $471 countrywide. Staged accidents, rampant litigation, and unscrupulous medical clinics that provide services to Personal Injury Protection claimants have created a perfect storm of skyrocketing costs for honest Florida consumers.
Florida leads the nation in staged automobile accidents and questionable insurance claims. Four of the top 10 U.S. hotspots with the highest rate of questionable auto claims are in Florida: Tampa, Miami, Orlando and Hialeah. If the underlying problems that allow for the abuse of Florida’s no-fault law are not addressed in 2012, Florida’s consumers will continue to pay the price.
Worse, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation warns that the current trend in fraudulent claims is unsustainable and may lead to an automobile liability insurance availability crisis.
“Undercover investigations have revealed that many participants in staged accidents were part of a larger group and that the staged crash was just the first step in the overall scheme,” said Florida Sheriffs Association Executive Director Steve Casey. “PIP fraud used to be more of an individual crime and now has become an organized crime.”
Gear Up Florida suggests the following four steps to eliminating accident fraud:
- Allow a reasonable amount of time for investigation of suspect claims.
- Place reasonable limits on attorneys’ fees to reduce the incentive for unnecessary or prolonged litigation.
- Allow for greater oversight of clinics that provide medical treatment to PIP claimants.
- Establish reasonable treatment guidelines to prevent excessive and unnecessary medical treatment.
For more information or to join the Coalition, visit www.gearupflorida.com.
SOURCE Gear Up Florida Coalition