Fla. Trial Lawyers Proposals Would Reportedly Further Disrupt Market

July 1, 2003

The Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers has reportedly prepared six proposed amendments to the state constitution, which would unnecessarily complicate the insurance market.

“These are very onerous proposed amendments that would seriously disrupt an already troubled system,” said James Taylor, southeastern regional manager of the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII).

The proposed amendments are part of a citizens’ initiative which requires obtaining the requisite number of voters’ signatures on petitions so the proposals could be included on the ballot in the 2004 elections.

The proposals would reportedly:

· Require insurers to be subject to Florida antitrust laws;
· Require prior approval from the state for insurance rates, which may not be “excessive or unfairly discriminatory” and apply new standards to homeowners, motor vehicle and workers’ compensation insurance and other insurance whose rates are already regulated;
· Give patients the right to review records of health care facilities or providers’ adverse medical incidents;
· Allow patients or their survivors to sue managed care organizations; and
· Protect the legal rights of nursing home residents for compensation for abuse, neglect or wrongful death.

“Although these proposals appear in the guise of consumer protectionism, they would actually create more litigation. In addition, consumers already have the ability to access their records,” continued Taylor. “The rating provisions are especially problematic, since prior approval will remove competition and create a more heavily regulated and less responsive market.”

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