Florida Auto Insurance Reforms Get Green Light

Two weeks ago we covered the ongoing battle over Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system. Florida lawmakers say the current system is rife with fraud and passed a package of reforms to limit no-fault claims, but the legislation was halted in March by a circuit court injunction. Last week that injunction was overturned by an appeals court, allowing the reforms to go ahead.

Florida CFO Jeff Atwater, who strongly favors the reforms, praised the ruling.

“Today’s ruling moves Florida a step closer to beating back rampant auto insurance fraud and bring rate relief to Florida consumers,” he said.

The appeals court decision reverses an injunction issued by Leon County circuit judge Terry Lewis. Lewis said the reforms unduly curtailed Floridians’ right to sue, but the appeals court disagreed.

“ . . . the alleged economic harm suffered by the Provider Plaintiff in this case is an insufficient basis to assert others’ potential access-to-court claims,” the ruling states.

Still, the reform law faces heavy opposition from groups who stand to gain from high insurance payouts. Donovan Brown, an official with the Property Casualty Insurance Association of America, said the legal fight will continue.

“Although today’s ruling was a victory for Florida’s consumers, we anticipate those that make a living profiting off of PIP will again attempt to challenge this law,” he said.

The reform law caps no-fault payouts at $10,000 for emergency treatment and $2,500 for non-emergency treatment. It also requires claims for treatment to be filed within 14 days of the accident.