Senate Committee Passes Controversial Auto Insurance Bill


State senators took a step Tuesday towards cracking down on auto insurance fraud.

Or were they just doing the bidding of the insurance industry?

You decide.

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee passed a bill they said made auto insurance fraud more difficult.

Some lawyers — those who make their living representing those in accidents — say the bill will make it more difficult to collect from insurance companies.

It is another round in the yearly fight between the insurance industry and a small group of lawyers, chiropractors, medical testing facilities and other medical providers who make a living from auto accidents.

The media this year is filled with reports about the state budget, education and important social issues like abortion.  Yet much of the give-and-take during a Legislative session involves economic issues.

There are few economic issues bigger than auto insurance.  Millions are at stake.

What’s in it for you?

Perhaps cheaper insurance rates.

There is no doubt that South Florida is the center of PIP (Personal Injury Protection) fraud.  Among the major problems are inflated claims and ginned up medical reports for those not really injured.  This area has 27 percent of the licensed drivers, but 54 percent of the PIP expenses, according to a state reported released earlier this year.

Incidents of fraud reported to the state Division of Fraud has climbed from 2669 to 4271 in the last two years.  Insurance rates and lawsuits have increased.

Something had to be done.  Hence, today’s bill.

Below is the news release from the Florida Senate:




Senate Committee Passes Bill to Fight PIP Fraud in Florida

Senator Bogdanoff’s Bill Provides Tools to Prevent Scams

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee today passed a bill targeting fraud in Florida’s automotive personal injury protection (PIP) insurance industry. Senate Bill 1930, sponsored by Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, provides consumer protection against staged auto accidents. It includes provisions which crack down on scams and offers tools to help law enforcement officers fight motor vehicle PIP fraud at the scene of the crime.

“We see it in many forms, including staged car wrecks or bogus medical claims, said Bogdanoff. “Swindlers play the industry like a game. Floridians should not be forced to pay higher premiums due to these unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of no-fault auto coverage.

Senate Bill 1930 revises the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law and related statutory provisions to help eliminate fraud up front. For accidents in which a passenger complains of pain or discomfort, the bill requires responding law enforcement officers to list the names and addresses of all passengers involved in a crash using Florida’s “Long Form Traffic Crash Report. It also establishes the Fight Auto Fraud Fund, a direct-support organization to assist with the prosecution, investigation and prevention of motor vehicle insurance fraud the organization will be led by a board of directors to include the state’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or a designee of the CFO.

The bill also requires an insurance fraud notice for medical providers who knowingly submit bogus applications for clinics that treat auto crash victims. The bill requires disclosure of the patient log in readable language within 30 days of receiving a written request from the insurer.

Additionally, the bill provides that any claimant who knowingly submits a false or misleading claim cannot receive any PIP payments. Finally, SB 1930 provides insurers with more time to investigate suspicious claims and authorizes them to conduct an on-site physical examination of the patient’s treatment facility.

“This bill combines a number of components suggested by consumer groups to help push forward protective measures and eliminate lawsuits resulting from fraud, added Bogdanoff. “PIP was originally designed to keep the legal system out of the process and help people obtain their benefits as fast as possible. With this bill, we can help eliminate costs that increase our insurance premiums.

Related legislation, House Bill 1411 sponsored by Representative Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, is also moving through the process. For more information on SB 1930 and other bills before the Florida Legislature, visit


(Personal disclosure:  My son is a legislative aide for state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff.)



11 Responses to “Senate Committee Passes Controversial Auto Insurance Bill”

  1. Rs Wrong Again says:

    This is just one more attempt by the Republicans to curtail the rights of defendants to get justice in the court system.

  2. Floridan says:

    Has Bogdanoff ever failed to do the bidding of the insurance industry?

    Doesn’t members of her family own an insurance agency?

  3. watcher says:

    while insurers aren’t the most public spirited among us PIP laws have to change….the courts are clogged with lawsuits over as little as $30 because of prevailing party attorney fee claims… judge told me one case over a $1,000 bill generated a claim for $170,000 in fees……the plaintiff’s lawyers in some case out of school a few years are demanding $350 per hour for theit time….it always comes back to the same thing: when someone else is paying there is little incentive to be economical

  4. ARE U KIDDING says:

    Buddy, please do a report on how much money bogs has received from the insurance companies. Her bill was a wish list from the insurance company lobbyists. She did not add a single pro consumer rule. Insurers want to depose doctors as a condition precedent to be paid? Really! What doctor would sit for that in order to get paid. Insurers know they can ask every doctor to sit of a depo because most won’t sit for a depo and now they do not have to pay the claim. WAKE THE F UP. This is a huge scam and Bogs says “what is the big deal for a doctor to chat with an insurance company.” ITS NOT A CHAT. It’s a deposition that will last for hours at the office of the insurance company.

  5. citizen says:

    All thats going to happen are the providers are going to adapt to the new system. Chiro’s are going to go the EUO’s to get paid. What r they afraid of if they are doing things on the up and up. The PIP lawyers are afraid bc PIP is moving towards a work comp type legal system. Which means their golden egg is being taken away from them. The PIP system is rife with fraud. Runners are still being used, patients are still being paid, ghost billing is common. Patients dont get referred to the right doctor until the PIP is exhausted. The providers and lawyers can claim that fraud does not exist but it does. Surgery is being done that is not needed. Therapy is being over-utilized.Its so widespread that it cant be policed. The chiro’s should just be happy that PIP still exists bc without it they would all be moving to Kentucky or Minnesota.

  6. Whohastimeforthis says:

    Are U Kidding:

    True. I sat through a pointless two-part deposition (EUO) on a patient a few years back. The insurance attorneys get paid hourly and dragged it on for 3 hours for the first part and 2 for the next. We went through various subjects as where I went to high school and so forth. It was a joke. My office was eventually paid, but I can’t imagine what the opposing law firm got paid. Waste of time and money.

  7. Bear says:

    This is ridiculous. These politicians who support this type of language do not realize that the actual way to fight fraud is to kill the massage clinics who have a doctor or chiropractor prescribe therapy to be performed at these massage clinics with no medical director. Furthermore, the staged accidents and bogus store-front clinics who bill for services never rendered ARE THE REAL PROBLEM. So, now the insurance industry wants to take premiums from the citizens of Florida and basically keep them all because these bills will allow them to. These bills are nothing more than a backdoor way to kill PIP. The insurance companies who support this bill KNOW they will not have to pay claims because the language contained…allows for it. There are so many dubious provisions that are ambiguous enough to allow every claim to be denied to some degree. There are no definitions of what ‘a reasonable suspicion of fraud’ actually is. This will lead to a windfall of profit for insurance companies. Moreover, how does capping attorney’s fees stem fraud? If everyone is claiming that attorney’s fees are so high over such small bills, why not pay the small bill? Then the insurance company wont have to be plaintiff’s lawyers fees, interest, penalties, AND their own attorneys. Plaintiff’s attorney’s fees are a last line of defense against billion dollar insurance giants. The right to a jury trial cannot be taken away with mandatory arbitration. These bills will not pass. The loss of jobs alone will put a horrendous strain on Florida’s economy. Any sensible legislator who is not tied to the insurance industry will not vote for this language.

  8. Gad says:

    Insurance Fraud Committed by the Insurance Industry upon us the Floridians:
    Are you good with numbers? Time value money?  The PIP benefit law was set in 1971 to have a mandatory $10,000 for medical care. Yet every year for the last forty years we pay increasingly higher premiums, but the benefit decreases in value since the number stays the same $10,000.
    In 1971 $10,000 got you lots of care and/or bought you a two bedroom apartment or four Toyota Camry cars.  Today you can not get even half a Camry, the one without the letters.  So why every year do we pay higher premiums to our insurance companies?
    Same goes for the BI (Bodily Injury) and UM (Uninsured Motorist)benefits. The numbers haven’t changed in over forty years, but the values have decreased.
    Why does your TV screen have so many insurance advertisements, did you ever think about it?  It is because their profit margins are so large, and their liability gets lower every year.   What business wouldn’t want to have their expenses to be the same as four decades ago?  
    The insurance statisticians and mathematicians know what they are doing.  They know that most economists don’t think about this point, and obviously in Tallahassee no one thinks of it. Floridians pay a higher price and are getting ripped off every day as their benefits decrease every year in an opposite relationship to the higher premiums that we pay.
    How many clinics are committing insurance fraud each year? 20? 30?  That’s horrible. I agree. Catch them and punish the owners. There are 40,000 clinics serving Floridians. That means that the insurance industry is playing you by using the word fraud. Everyone wants to get rid of fraud as soon as possible.  Yet look at other industries and you would see that there is much more fraud. In this matter the entity who commits fraud upon us is the insurance industry, not the clinics who service Floridians. Who has better marketing and higher budgets – doctor’s offices or the insurance industry?  We know the answer.
    A trick:
    We have seen at the end of 2007 when the PIP law was about to be sunset that the new premiums didn’t get any more affordable for Florida residents. The new premium cost was the same as the insurance companies just reallocated what they would have collected on the PIP Benefit and added it to the other components of the policy making us the little people pay the same cost but get less.
    Is that what we want?  Are we that dumb?
    Lack of Insurance Regulation:
    What system is in place to make sure the insurance companies are paying on our behalf?  None.
    This is why they deny claims and do not pay.  Do you realize that the insurance companies use third party companies who use doctors to claim that we, the patients, are lying, and they report to the insurance that no care is needed.  Again 100% denial, does it make sense?  There is no governing entity that regulates them so they continue to do what they want. They are laughing all the way to the bank. Then they cry and publish articles about fraudulent clinics (which we all want to eliminate) thereby redirecting the attention from their wrongdoing!!!
    Do you realize that every year we pay higher insurance premiums and get fewer benefits?  Beyond that, our tax money then has to go to cover hospital deficits which the insurance companies are not covering and not fulfilling their obligations. Unless you are a politician you also realize the problem.  If you are a politician and you believe you need more money for your campaign then continue in your efforts against the people and in favor of your elections. Go ahead and support the insurance companies.
    Some attorneys who recover BI and or UM also want the PIP benefits to sunset, not because it is good for Floridians, but because it serves their interests. It makes their cases easier to resolve as there is no threshold anymore.    
    All of us pay insurance premiums, and all of us have fewer and fewer benefits every year. Who are we kidding? Who are we cheating? Ourselves.

  9. FL driver says:

    Isn’t it time that our representatives in Tallahassee start representing us, the citizens of the State, and not the insurance companies?

    It seems to me that every time there is a proposed change to this no fault law it is to give the insurance companies more ways to deny claims. I am not saying there is not fraud out there, of course there is. There’s always those who are trying to make a quick buck, but isn’t that why the insurance companies were given time to investigate the claims in the first place? What about those people who are legitimately injured and are in need of treatment and who paid for insurance every month? They are entitled to the coverage and the insurance companies should be required to pay.

    I just think it is time to stop using “fraud” as the excuse for making it harder for people to get treated and these doctors to get paid for their services. I keep hearing about the attorneys and the money they are making, yet no one seems to realize that there’s a real simple solution to that: pass laws that make insurance companies pay for treatment their insureds needed (obviously, after doing what they are already allowed to do to which is investigate the claim to make sure it’s a legitimate claim) If that was done, then there would be no need for attorneys to even sue the insurance companies. It’s that simple!

    I think we need better laws protecting us. I have paid my premiums for many many years without ever making a claim and I expect that if the day ever came that I am involved in an accident that my insurance company would be running to pay for my medical care.

    Sadly, with laws like the one being proposed here, it seems like the insurance companies will be able to find some way to deny the claim (ie if my doctor’s office misses the 30 day deadline to send in patient logs or doesn’t fill out a form properly) That does not sound fair to me and they should not be allowed to get away with that.

    How about someone propose a law that requires insurance companies do what they promise us they will do: pay for our claims when we need them!

    just a thought.

  10. John Q. Public says:

    I can’t believe that so many people feel a bill like this is good for the public at large.
    CITIZEN commented that the chiropractors will go to EUO and if they don’t they must have a fear of wrongdoing. WRONG: It’s because of the time each of these will take and not being able to run an office when there is no dr. there. It give the insurance company a choice to tie up the practitioners to sit through extensive questioning wasting most of a day all the while the insurance company pays for there rep or reps to be there. In the end if they still feel they can hang there hat on an issue not to pay part all or part of the DR.
    bill they won’t. CITIZEN and others make no mention that before the alleged greedy attorneys who are filing PIP suits for $30.00 or $3000.00 are winning against the insurance companies and the suits were not filed until the insurance companies had ample time to pay the bills properly. Obviously these are not fraud bills and stopping the DRs from proper payment based on the insurance companies decision is allowing the insurance companies to get away with fraud. Law enforcement needs to hit the streets and find the real street crooks. Do some real time investigations on fraud. Leaving the fox to guard the hens will not stop fraud by the crooks. This will discourage real DRs from being able to treat cases they ordinarily would treat not knowing if it goes into account receivables with little recourse to collect. Can someone who believes
    the new laws please explain to me how and where PIP fraud is going to be on a decline and how it brings those to justice who break the law.

  11. HollywoodRes says:

    The auto insurance companies will never pass the savings back to the consumer.

    Cant Democrats in this state just run on the Republican record since they’ve taken over the legislature and executive branches. Some of these politicians make Reagan look like a communist. He actually raised taxes (especially on corporations and the wealthy).