Palm Beach Post
Charles Elmore, April 13, 2017
Florida drivers fed up with being forced to buy costly and fraud-plagued car insurance that duplicates their health insurance could save money under a bill that headed toward the House floor Thursday.
It represents a major step toward the biggest change in Florida’s car insurance system in half a century: ending the state’s Personal Injury Protection system designed to cover injuries in minor car accidents no matter who is at fault.
But driver savings disappear and premiums could even rise slightly over time under a Senate version that also cleared a committee on the same day. Like the House bill, it ends the state’s no-fault system but instead requires that drivers must buy $5,000 in “medical payments” coverage.
That merely “renames” and slightly reshapes PIP, said HB 1063 sponsor Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach.
Nonetheless, Thursday brought signs legislators largely agree PIP is a troubled system that is hard to defend, though differences remain on how to replace it.
Grall’s bill, which passed the House commerce committee 22-5, heralds “definitely a shift in the way we view auto insurance,” she said.
SB 1766 by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, passed the banking and insurance committee 8-1. It still has a couple more committee stops.
“I’m of the fundamental belief that PIP is woefully inadequate in the 21st Century,” Lee said. “It’s just lost pace with the cost and medical inflation and treating injured parties.”