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Why are Florida Auto Insurance Premiums Increasing?

If you keep up with the political landscape in the state of Florida you may be familiar with legislation that went into effect on January 1, 2013, regarding Florida PIP insurance New Florida PIP Statute Promises Greater Profits to Insurance Carriers

In Florida, state law requires that every registered motor vehicle be insured for at least a minimum of $10,000.00 of personal injury protection. This coverage is more commonly known by the acronym PIP, or Florida no-fault insurance. PIP protects vehicle owners by insuring their automobile no matter who is at fault for the accident. Pursuant to Florida Statute 627.736, PIP pays for the medical costs incurred by the drivers, passengers, and pedestrians injured in a vehicle accident. PIP coverage pays these expenses, irrespective of fault in order to lessen the likelihood of litigation and to expedite medical treatment. Insurance companies, must by law, offer deductibles for this coverage at rates of $250, $500, and $1,000.

A recent case in the Leon County Circuit Court was heard before Judge Terry Lewis (Florida PIP Injunction) in which a temporary injunction was granted on some of the provisions of the new PIP statute. It was seen as a win for Florida consumers since Judge Lewis determined that part of the statute was unconstitutional.

From the period of 1989 to 2010, auto insurance premiums increased by 70%. Insurance companies and lobbyists point to fraud and the increase in the price of vehicles as major reasons why premiums have skyrocketed. Lynne McChristian, Florida representative for the Insurance Information Institute, recently claimed that the increase in Florida Auto Insurance premiums were largely driven up by PIP fraud. Florida consumers were promised a decrease in premiums as a result of PIP reform. McChristian has stated, “The improvements that were supposed to happen with last year’s reform have been stalled.”

Florida HB 112 was signed into law in March of 2012. Insurance carriers and lobbyists ensured us that this reform would lead to cheaper premiums for Floridians. In fact, the Florida Senate proposed a mandatory 25% reduction in auto insurance premiums but instead settled for a 10% reduction that’s not guaranteed. If insurers who offer PIP do not provide their customers a minimum 10% rate reduction, they must explain in detail why not. A second rate filing required on Jan. 1, 2014, proposes insurers have a 25% premium reduction for policyholders unless they can show why they’re unable to provide the cut. Our elected officials communicated that this would be good for consumers because the average family pays a “tax” of $246 annually due to fraud. This reform would reduce fraud and in turn we would all save money.

I recently received my auto insurance renewal notice from Safeco. You can imagine how surprised I was when the premium did not reflect a savings. My family’s reward for PIP Reform — an increase of the annual premium by almost 10% as opposed to a reduction. I’m also waiting for my explanation that the law was said to require if reduced premiums did not occur. I presume I’m not the only registered voter that has experience this situation. Hopefully, the citizens of our state will have a vivid memory when the next election cycles around. Or, they can just bring their insurance renewal notices with them to the polling booth.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is a highly recognized Personal Injury law firm in Clearwater that handles auto accident injury claims throughout Florida. Dolman Law is centerally located in Clearwater, Florida, only minutes from Tampa and St. Petersburg. For more information, call the injury law attorneys at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free consultation and case evaluation.