Residents in Florida have joined with business associations and law enforcement agencies to create the Gear Up Florida Coalition, with the goal of protecting insurance consumers in the state from the skyrocketing costs that are resulting from the increasing instance of fraud to its no-fault law.
According to Tammy Perdue, the Florida General Counsel for Associated Industries, they want to bring fraud from car accidents to an end and change the organized systems that are encouraging these criminal behaviors. She explained that it will be critical for legislative action to take place in 2012 in order to “protect Florida’s businesses and insurance consumers from what government officials have called, ‘a nearly $1 billion fraud tax on Florida Consumers.”
Due to the high amount of fraud, insured drivers in the state pay rates that are 56 percent higher than drivers in many other states. The average for the country is $471, but in Florida, the average is $736. The problem is with fraudulent behaviors such as staged accidents, a plague of litigation, and dishonest medical clinics that offer Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claimants medical services. All of these high costs have been adding up and it is the honest insurance consumer who must foot the bill.
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Florida is the top state in the country for sketchy insurance claims and staged car accidents. Among the top ten cities with the largest number of questionable auto insurance claims, four are located in Florida: Hialeah, Orlando, Miami, and Tampa.
The new coalition, as well as key legislators, Governor Rick Scott, insurance regulators, and the industry as a whole are therefore making it a priority to repair the underlying problems to help to control the price that Florida’s consumers will have to pay in 2012 and beyond.