Florida Governor Pushing Lawmakers on Insurance Issues

Gov. Rick Scott wants lawmakers to fix a pair of auto and property insurance issues that are costing Floridians hundreds of millions of dollars but have eluded resolution for more than a decade.

The issue facing the largest number of Floridians is the rising cost of personal injury protection or PIP coverage that licensed drivers must buy. In some neighborhoods in the Tampa Bay area and South Florida the coverage can add several hundred dollars annually to auto insurance premiums, a cost that’s almost entirely the result of rampant fraud.

Scott, a conservative Republican, also expects lawmakers during their annual session that begins Jan. 10 to somehow reverse the runaway growth of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp., which was created a decade ago as the insurer of last resort for home and business owners. However, Citizens has mushroomed into the biggest property insurer in Florida with 1.5 million policyholders and doesn’t collect enough in premiums to guarantee that is could pay off if a catastrophic storm hit the state.