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2013 Florida Insurance Law PIP Changes? A Personal Injury Attorney in Tampa Weighs In

Alongside the federal Affordable Care Act, major insurance changes have been taking place in Florida. The Personal Injury Protection (PIP) reforms that were passed in March of 2012 were designed to reduce state drivers’ premiums by at least 10 percent. Rampant abuses in personal injury protection cases prompted reforms as a response to insurance companies raising premiums for drivers all over Florida. The abuses took the form of intentional, staged accidents to defraud the system.

Now that the reforms have been in effect, many want to know how much better off Florida drivers are. Have they seen reductions in the personal injury protection part of their automobile insurance premiums? According to the knowledge of a personal injury attorney in Tampa, the desired 10 percent reduction in premiums largely hasn’t happened. In fact, many PIP insurance companies have continued to raise premiums on their customers.

The intention behind these PIP laws is good. In effect since 1972, the no-fault PIP law was supposed to make sure that regardless of who caused an accident, everyone involved got a basic level of medical support and lost wages from their insurance company—up to $10,000. Naturally, to make this financially viable for insurance companies, personal injury protection premiums were relatively high, but the system worked adequately until rampant fraud caused payouts to skyrocket since 2008.

The new changes include a 14-day limit on seeking treatment after a crash, plus capped benefits of $2,500 unless a qualified medical professional determines that the injured accident victim has an “emergency medical condition” worthy of additional benefits. These new, more stringent regulations have helped curb the number of filings with PIP insurance companies, but the extra savings haven’t carried over to lower insurance premiums for millions of Floridians.

Why haven’t Florida drivers seen the promised premium reductions yet? Well, according to a personal injury attorney in Tampa at Roman & Roman Law, one reason is that the reforms didn’t fully go into effect until January 1, 2013, so there will be some lag between lower filings with PIP insurance companies and cost savings for insurance policyholders. The consolation prize is that each of the approved PIP insurance premium increases is significantly lower than it would have been without reform. While three insurance companies have offered decreases, many more are still raising premiums.

In time, Florida PIP policyholders should experience the full benefits of the reforms. Another round of mandatory PIP filings will occur on January 1, 2014, and that round should portray a more realistic assessment of how the reforms have affected the insurance marketplace.

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