Fla. Session Ends in Stalemate for Industry

May 12, 2003

In spite of a reported significant need for fraud reform in Florida, the 2003 legislative session ended recently with lawmakers failing to take action on several crucial insurance-related bills.

“We are disappointed that the legislature was unable to deal with key issues like workers’ comp, PIP reform, medical liability, or even the state budget,” James Taylor, southeastern regional manager for the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII), commented.

Although the Senate Appropriations Committee approved S.B. 1202, targeting PIP fraud, the bill failed to pass the full Senate. “We commend the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, and particularly Senator Alexander, for pursuing a responsible and meaningful bill aimed squarely at PIP fraud,” Taylor said. “The combined opposition forces of the trial bar, clinics and health-care providers, who benefit from the current system, proved too formidable.”

Because the governor has reportedly prioritized workers’ compensation and medical liability reform these issues may carry over into the Florida legislature’s special session, which could begin as early as this week. However, it is unclear whether PIP reform will be included in the session, Taylor said.

Another non-starter was H.B. 1837, a comprehensive workers’ compensation reform bill that included recommendations from the business and insurance coalition, and FCB IN-31-03, that would have allowed a flex-rating option for property/casualty insurers.

Another important insurance-related bill that passed was S.B. 204, which contained language that closely mirrors the National Coalition of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) model on the use of credit scoring in rating and underwriting.

However, the bill included an important amendment that stated the bill would not be effective unless H.B. 1895 passed. H.B. 1895 is the language that created an exemption for credit scoring models in the Florida open records law. Since the exemption didn’t pass, S.B. 204 is not effective.

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