Florida takes aim at insurance fraud and staged accidents

Florida Auto InsuranceState leaders, such as those in Florida, are working with insurers to make a move to form legislation that will combat auto insurance fraud so that it will be ready for the January start of the next session of lawmaking.

Proposed bills in 2011 to fight fraudulent claims on personal injury protection insurance did not receive their approval from the state Legislature this year due to worries over the struggles it may create for policyholders that are making legitimate claims, as well as their doctors and attorneys.

That said, two new bills have already been filed. Senator Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton) filed SB 254, which is a bill that would – among several purposes – provide insurers with the ability to offer discounts to policyholders who agree to use the doctors that are preferred by the insurance company.

Rep. Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton) filed HB 119, which is a bill that includes several provisions, such as increasing the number of reasons that insurance companies have for denying a claim.

Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Westcott has begun a number of meetings that will assist her in the development of recommendations for lawmakers in order to prevent PIP fraud. To assist in this effort, Westcott formed a panel made up of medical, legal, and insurance industry officials, as well as regulatory and legislative representatives and a consumer advocate.

At the same time, Jeff Atwater, the Chief Financial Officer to whom Westcott answers, will be attending an Allstate Insurance Event that is designed to increase awareness regarding PIP fraud. With the assistance of the Miami-Dade Police Department, that insurer will provide staged accident demonstrations with actual car crashes in order to help people to be able to recognize fraud and the way that it affects the amount that consumers are spending.

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