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Lawmakers trying to eliminate "no-fault" auto insurance system

Posted at 4:44 PM, Jan 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-10 12:53:51-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - An effort to eliminate the state’s “no-fault” auto insurance system got rolling Wednesday in the Senate, amid concerns the change would not significantly lower rates.

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee voted to support a bill which would repeal Florida’s no-fault law, which requires drivers to carry $10,000 in personal-injury protection, or PIP, coverage to help pay medical expenses after accidents.

Senator Tom Lee is the bill sponsor. His measure would force motorists to carry $5,000 in what is known as medical payments coverage and minimum amounts of bodily-injury coverage that would increase over time.

“I’m trying to make sure we don’t raise premiums on Floridians, but by the same token that we protect as many options for consumers to get medical care in the event of an accident," said State Sen. Tom Lee, R- Hillsborough County. "It’s a balancing act.”

Mark Delegal, a lobbyist representing State Farm Insurance, which is opposed to the proposal, calls Lee’s measure “PIP version 2.0” and warns the system will remain “costly and inefficient.”

“With a broad spectrum of providers, and without knowing the costs of that up front, it’s going to be unaffordable to a lot of people,” said Delegal.

Since a 2012 effort to reform the no-fault system, efforts have increased in Tallahassee to replace it with a tort-based system.

The 2012 law, in part, requires people involved in crashes to seek treatment within 14 days and puts a $25,000 cap on coverage for non-emergency conditions. The proposal must still go before two more committees before reaching the Senate floor.