By Rene Garcia
As my fellow elected officials and I gear up for the legislative session, one issue that deserves some clarification is no-fault auto insurance coverage, also known as personal injury protection or PIP.
We have 15 million-plus licensed drivers in Florida and almost as many registered motor vehicles. Each of those vehicles is required to have PIP coverage. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were more than 235,000 traffic crashes in 2009. It’s the big picture and certainly does not account for the percentage of these accidents that involve a PIP claim, nor does it account for claims that may have been made without law enforcement’s involvement.
That’s the problem here — we really don’t have much data on PIP claims because insurance companies carefully guard this information. Florida-specific data on the total number of PIP claims made each year and the percentage of those claims insurance companies determine are fraud is not readily available. To better understand the issue, this is information the insurance industry needs to provide to the Legislature. We can’t set informed public policy without the complete picture.