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Florida Insurance Commissioner Advocates Reforms

Florida’s Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty told Gov. Rick Scott that the state’s epidemic of car insurance fraud is getting worse. Since 2008, Florida’s statewide insurance premiums have increased by more than $900 million.

According to an Aug. 16, 2011 article published in The Miami Herald, between 2008 and 2010, total personal injury protection (PIP) benefits paid increased from $1.4 billion to $2.3 billion, a 70 percent increase. The money comes from premiums paid by all drivers.

Total PIP lawsuits rose from 7,500 to nearly 19,000 during the same period.

And yet, the total number of crashes in the state is declining.

Every driver is required to carry a minimum of $10,000 of personal injury protection as part of the state’s 1972 no-fault auto insurance law. However, Scott and his Cabinet members said that dramatic changes to the auto insurance law must happen.

Florida is one of 10 no-fault accident states. Thirty-eight other states have what is known as a tort system which requires drivers to purchase bodily insurance coverage. A tort system holds at-fault drivers liable for the damages they inflict on others.

The governor said he want Commissioner McCarty to consult with lawmakers and push for reforms that will be taken up during the next legislative session that begins in January.