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New report says fraud down in ‘no fault’ claims

A 2012 effort to reform the state’s “no-fault” auto insurance system has halted the growth of fraud in the system, according to a new state report, but the numbers released Monday are still considered too preliminary to show the full impact of the law.

The report by the Office of Insurance Regulation found that since the law (HB 119) went into place on Jan. 1, 2013, there has been a drop in the number of personal-injury protection claims filed and dollars sought.

Meanwhile, the report indicates that claims under other coverage types, such as bodily injury and uninsured motorist, have gone up.

“Overall, there was limited data available to determine the true impact of HB 119,” a release from the Office of Insurance Regulation said. “However, the data call analysis reveals the law has had a major impact on the personal auto market and changed the trajectory of trends being seen prior to its enactment.”

The 2012 law, considered a last-ditch effort to maintain the no-fault system, set benchmarks for insurers to lower rates on so-called PIP coverage.

It required people involved in crashes to seek treatment within 14 days and allowed up to $10,000 in benefits for emergency medical conditions, while putting a $2,500 cap on non-emergency conditions.

Gov. Rick Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater pushed for the law, saying that fraud, primarily in the Tampa and Miami regions, had resulted in the cost of auto-insurance coverage to spike for Floridians.

The report said the average medical cost paid through PIP claims has dropped 14 percent statewide from 2011 to the first three quarters of 2014, with the average payment down 28.7 percent in South Florida in the same time.


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