Florida legislators revived a bill, SB 150, that could potentially end the requirement that drivers in the state obtain $10,000 mandatory personal injury protection coverage. The bill, sponsored by Senator Tom Lee, passed its first committee of reference and will be taken up by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.
Analysis of the bill by legislators indicates the bill replaces the PIP coverage mandate with a medical payments (MedPay) coverage mandate of $5,000. The analysis further stated, “Medical payments coverage under the bill provides substantially similar coverage to current PIP medical benefits, except that it provides reimbursement for 100 percent of covered medical losses, whereas PIP reimburses only 80
percent of covered medical losses. The repeal of the No-Fault Law eliminates the limitations on recovering pain and suffering damages from PIP insureds which currently require bodily injury that causes death or significant and permanent injury.”
The bill retains the $10,000 financial responsibility requirement for property damage.
According to a statement by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), attributed to Logan McFaddin, its regional manager, “PCI is disappointed by the advancement of SB 150 today. This legislation would eliminate cost containment measures and result in consumers either paying more for the same coverage, or paying the same for less coverage.”
He added the bill does nothing to address bad faith abuse, which adds considerable costs to the system at the expense of the state’s motorists.
“Insurers support reform efforts that reduce fraud and protect our policyholders’ premium dollars. However, replacing PIP with Med Pay would wipe away years of reforms that have helped reduce costs for Florida auto insurance consumers,” he added.
If passed, the repeal of the No-Fault Law and the financial responsibility requirements for bodily injury take effect January 1, 2019.