Michael T. Gibson: The new PIP reform will fail

Florida should look to proven options

  • By
  • | 6:27 a.m. November 20, 2012
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
  • Opinion
  • Share

The New Florida PIP law, also known as House Bill 119, will not save Floridians any insurance premium money. The early rate filings of PIP insurers do not actually reflect any savings in premium dollars for Florida insureds. Instead, we see that the state is approving 8 percent rate hikes, at least to Florida Farm Bureau. The new law was supposed to mandate a 10 percent decrease in premiums, not the direct opposite. Again, this is just one sign and strong indication that this law will ultimately miss its mark and fail.

Gov. Rick Scott flatly rejected a better bill put forth by Sen. Joe Negron, which would have mandated a 25 percent rate reduction. Instead, the governor forced a bill that requires no rate reduction at all. The Florida Farm Bureau filing confirms the same.

What is most disturbing about the PIP debate is that the governor and the Legislature flat out passed on a proven reform measure; one that would surely lower premiums for drivers, while at the same time preserve the rights of the truly innocent injured victims and their doctors. Florida should simply get rid of PIP and switch to a Mandatory Bodily Injury system as the overwhelming, vast majority of states in this country (48 to be exact) have. Here is a compelling case why BI should be implemented over PIP:

In 2007, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners did a study and found that the average auto insurance premium, based on purchase of state-required minimal coverage, in California was $800, in Florida, it was $1,043 (www.compuquotes.com/average-costs-of-insurance.html#auto). Keep in mind, the insurance industry claims that PIP costs in Florida skyrocketed even further from 2007-2010, so this number is probably even more disproportionate today.

California is a fault/tort state, unlike Florida’s No fault/PIP system. They require a minimum of $15,000 per claimant/$30,000 per accident in BI coverage. This is versus Florida, which does not require any BI coverage, and only mandates PIP and Property Damage Liability coverage.

The bottom line is you get more coverage, and a superior coverage, at a cheaper price in California, where historically, everything (gas, food, cost of living, etc.) is more expensive.

It is a great example of how Florida has fallen behind other states in the auto insurance market, and why PIP should be scrapped to create a healthier insurance market for consumers and insurers.

Another good case study is in Colorado, which has seen auto insurance rates drop 35 percent since dropping PIP for BI in 2007.

The evidence, from these states, which have BI instead of PIP, is that rates are cheaper, attorney fee disputes are eliminated, and fraud and abuse are minimized.

The bottom line — Mandatory BI is a proven solution to lowering auto insurance premiums. Florida should look to repeal PIP and implement Mandatory BI.

Tell your governor, state House representative and senator today.

The Orlando-based personal injury law firm of Michael T. Gibson, P.A., is dedicated to cases involving auto accidents, nursing home abuse claims, premises liability and slip and falls. The firm also represents consumers and individuals in insurance disputes of all types. Attorney Michael T. Gibson’s practice is grounded in his family's experiences. Having witnessed his own mother suffer through a horrific auto accident, he has personal experience fighting a large insurance company to obtain justice. He brings this experience along with his legal skills and training into every case he handles. Mr. Gibson is also the author of “Your Complete Guide to Florida Auto Accident Claims.” For more information, visit autojusticeattorney.com or call 1-855-What-Next (1-855-942-8639). Se habla Espanol.


Latest News