Fla. Lawmakers Unveil Anti-Fraud Bills

February 28, 2003

Two Florida lawmakers, reportedly keenly aware of how insurance fraud is hurting consumers, have filed legislation designed to crack down on fraud perpetrators in the state.

Sen. Bill Posey (R, Dist. 24) and chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R, Dist. 48) both introduced anti-fraud bills this week in response to ongoing attention to auto and medical insurance fraud in Florida.

“We’re pleased to see lawmakers take such a proactive stance against this pernicious problem, which strains law enforcement resources and costs Florida consumers millions of dollars in higher premiums,”James Taylor, southeastern regional manager of the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII), said.

Florida, especially Dade County, is reportedly awash in personal injury protection (PIP) fraud, centered around bogus medical clinics and a sophisticated network of crooked doctors, attorneys, auto accident “victims” and the “runners” who solicit them.

Bob Neumann, director of the Florida Department of Insurance’s fraud division, estimates that more than 80 percent of Dade County PIP claims are fraudulent. And while the state’s fraud division makes hundreds of fraud-related arrests, current state law is reportedly riddled with loopholes allowing perpetrators to slip through the cracks.

The Posey bills, SB 1678 and 1680, express the general legislative intent to revise state laws regarding anti-fraud activities. The Bilirakis bill, H.B. 627, would establish or increase criminal penalties for a range of fraudulent activities, including acting as a “runner,” participating in staged auto accidents, and creating fake auto insurance cards.

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