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Insurance commissioner says Senate PIP legislation will worsen problems

The Senate’s PIP fix might not be a fix at all – and it could bankrupt some auto insurers, says Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty.

McCarty has long been a fan of the House’s version of personal injury protection reform, but now he’s openly criticizing the Senate’s approach.

The Senate sent its no-fault car insurance reform package back to the House Wednesday. The Senate plan doesn’t cap attorney fees, allows judges to award fee multipliers in complex cases and permits chiropractors to perform initial evaluations for people injured in auto accidents.

All of that is problematic, McCarty said.

“There are some provisions in the Senate bill that we fear are going to exacerbate the problem,” he said.

Putting chiropractors on the front line, as the Senate does, is wrong, McCarty said. The House’s version doesn’t include chiropractors at all, though leaders said they are open to adding chiropractors to the list of medical providers that can be referred to for follow-up care.

Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, the Senate’s point person on PIP, says McCarty's analysis is incorrect. Senators approved several provisions that will reduce premiums, including an amendment that requires insurance companies to either lower rates by 25 percent or justify why PIP costs haven’t changed, he said.

"The Senate PIP bill will result in a minimum 25 percent reduction in insurance rates,” Negron said. “By eliminating the clinic licensure loophole and cracking down on overutilization, the Senate proposal goes after fraud but still ensures that legitimate medical providers are paid in a timely manner."

There is some good in the Senate plan, McCarty said, such as removing acupuncture and massage therapy from the list of covered treatments and anti-fraud provisions. But he doesn't think it's enough.

McCarty’s opinions on the Senate proposal are mirrored by Gov. Rick Scott and Put the Brakes on Accident Fraud, a coalition of insurance, business and law-enforcement groups that supports the House’s approach. The public relations firm representing the coalition set up McCarty’s interview with the Times/Herald.

McCarty said his aim isn’t to bash the Senate but to encourage the upper chamber to move closer to the House’s position as they pass proposals back and forth. If legislators can’t reach an agreement by Friday, there is a chance they will be called back for a special session on PIP.

“I don’t mean to be critical, I just tell it the way it is,” McCarty said. “Some of the amendments that have been added undermine any potential for cost savings, and I am concerned about that.”

Here is a statement the Office of Insurance Regulation shared with the governor after the Senate approved PIP Wednesday:

According to the Office of Insurance Regulation’s actuarial analysis – even prior to the amendments added to the bill, it was doubtful that the impact would approach a 25% decrease. Allowing follow-up care to be unrelated to the diagnosis of the original physician and allowing chiropractors to be “gatekeepers” will make a decrease even more problematic.

The Office is especially concerned about the presumed factor change, specifically the requirement of a minimum 25% decrease without clear and convincing actuarial evidence. The 25% number has not been substantiated. At a time when many insurers already have inadequate PIP rates, this proposed mandatory decrease may have the unintended consequence of reducing the PIP premium to a level that will affect the solvency of some auto insurers, especially the smaller Florida domestic companies that write in the non-standard market.

The other amendments do not appear to provide any real benefit to the PIP market, and potentially could increase costs. All of the proposed changes will result in a severe strain on Florida’s auto market and on the Office to implement these changes in the prescribed timeframe. Not only would this strain Office resources, insurers will have to overhaul their IT systems to accommodate these changes. In addition, auto insurers would also have to modify their programs, submit and receive approval for all rate and form changes, and then implement these changes prior to the 45-day renewal notice requirement in statutes.

Given the significant issues that have been identified, the Office has serious concerns about whether the amendments to the Senate bill would accomplish the objectives established by the Governor and Legislature to reduce PIP costs.

Comments

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skeleltor scott

Lets be honest here, Rick Scott and Co are trying to funnel accident victims to hospitals and urgent care centers of which Scott has major bsuinesses contacts in. Look at the people pushing the House bill they ALL receive huge donations from the insurance industry and sit on hospital boards! This is all about making the insurance industry more money, don't be fooled. It's Rick Scott we are talking about.

skeleltor scott

Look at your own auto policy's, as long as you have a decent driving record your premiums should be about the same. This nonsense about skyrocketing premiums are for people with horrible driving records. Personally my own policy decreased 10% this year, unlike my home ins that increased 1,500 with no claims ever. How about HOME INSURANCE REFROM Mr. Mccarty?

Judge

1st of all, PIP isnt managed care. Second, getting rid of massage owned clinics will drive costs down because they are/were everywhere. The insurance lobby hates chiropractors because they are the ones who primairly treat auto accidnet cases. 80% of these cases are soft tissue and spinal related. There are very few practitioners in practice today who are better qualified to treat these injuries than a competent chiropractic physician. Sure there are greed, unscrupulous professional out there. However, the house bill is an insurance wish list to require people to pay for manadatory premiums while not having to pay out claims under the guise of 'fraud' and 'cost drivers'. Get real. Start adjusting claims better. Use law enforcement to investigate and arrest criminals.

This is all one big joke by the very suspect governor and the insurance lobby. They want a wish list. They know nor care for anything related to what's best for their insureds. They actually think they have the power to determine who you can go see after an accidnet? LOL

Capping attorney fees is another joke. Plaintiff PIP attorney fees account for 1.4% of the total pie, yet the insurance lobby and our 'governor' cry poor because of these fees. These fees are NECESSARY to protect John Doe from being overwhelmed by giant insurance companies who WILL deny legitimate claims because there no longer be a deterrent to this agregious behavior.

Amend the Senate Bill to allow for 45 days after an accident to see a doctor or chiropractor. Allow 30 visits of rehabilitative care.

The idea that upon initial examination 24-48 hours after an accident that someone will only be able to seek PIP benefits pertaining to those conditions diagnosed on that initial day.. is one that is founded by individuals with ZERO knowledge of how injuries occur and surface after a trauma. So if you only have neck pain 2 days after an accident, but the next day your low back or shoulder or knee symptims begin to surface, you cant seek treatment because a legislator backed by St. Farm says so..????

JOKE

Judge

Skeletor, PIP premiums have risen but the Senate bill will drive them down without being an anti-consumer law.

tomtopper

The Insurance Commissioner is a joke. He is hack for insurance industry. The House bill caters to the insurance companies, while the Senate Bill is actually well thought out and will reduce fraud as well as force insurance companies to reduce rates.

Talk about being in the pockets of the insurance companies. Scott is as criminole as can be, and as for McCarty--he is trying to hang on to his job...can't get on the wrong side of Scott.

Tom Thomason

Insurance Commissioner is a real piece of work. Read this and you'll see what he is all about.

Either he stands beside our crook of a governor or he'll be replaced;
http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/banking/insurance-commissioner-kevin-mccarty-hires-715-an-hour-attorney-to-defend/1163122

Tiopumba

Upon reading both bills a person of normal intelligence can see that The House Bill clearly has been written by the insurance companies themselves. For crying out loud Rep. Boyd and his family own insurance companies. Our Crooked Governor Rick Scott is a Hospital point man.

Either way you slice it if HB 119 passes, I know PIP insurance will still be mandatory. So our fellow floridians will pay for a coverage that they can only use in the Hospital and within a certain time frame or be restricted on the amount you can use (NOT $10,000.00). Modern day Bait& Switch!!!!

Can I only pay for coverage on my vehicle and not PIP?

David Bass

Accident victims have a right to choice. The PIP bill removes choice. Unscrupulous people don't care where they go for care no do they care about costs. But people with genuine non-surgical injuries need to maintain their right to seek care with a qualified chiropractor who specializes in these types of injuries. Thank god there are more non-surgical injuries than surgical injuries or hospital costs would skyrocket. Be assured, if there is no chiropractic access, there will be many more surgeries with far deeper cost repercussions.
As with worker's compensation, chiropractic was removed and the cost for workers comp care went up. It will be expensive to punish the "ethical majority" of chiropractors for the purposes of removing the "unethical minority".

Gary G.

The House Bill will do nothing to prevent fraud. That is the primary reason for these changes isn't it? Every person who drives by law should own PIP insurance. What happens is that 5 people living under the same household (don't have to be blood relatives) get in an accident and only one has PIP. That ONE policy pays for all 5 people in the accident! Common sense changes will help fraud and reduce insurance premiums. These changes are all about who's gonna get the benefits.....

Sunset - easy solution

The simple solution is to elimate PIP altogether. Forced insurance does not work. It is abused and protects the wrong parties. My money is paying for other people being at fault. Who really benefits from PIP...can anyone tell me please?

No need to have all these bills backed by insurance compnanies, lawyers, clinics, etc that benefit no one but themsleves. Just let is go, should have sunset back in 2007 before the "special session" backed doored it in again....

George

This Rick Scott and his cronnie McCarty are so blatantly transparent to see who they work for...The Insurance Industry. If they are in that position it was because we elected them to serve THE FLORIDIANS not the insurance industry. Its very clear that their motives are anti-consumer and totaly against their job description. Using fraud as an excuse to reduce your free choice to doctor treatments, make you go into an Hospital setting(which benefits Mr. Hospital guy Rick Scott) has nothing to do with fighting fraud. Eliminate non-doctor owned clinics and crack down on them and we get rid of fraud.

This tactic is using Dynamite to exterminate termintes in your home. Use venom instead that will kill only the termites and leaves your home intact. Its as simple as using common sense instead of greedy money sense.

t Holladay

The Senate Bill is written by trial lawyers who are getting rich on PIP and harsh judgments handed down byt heir " friends" the judges they put in office. 92% of PIP litigation does NOT GO to the injured party but to these so called "medical providers" and of course the LAWYERS! PIP was supposed to keep lawyers from being involved in minor auto accidents but instead it is now organized CRIME> Florida leads the NATION in staged auto accidents... that is not the insurance companies nor is it anything to do with Gov. Scott. All of the above are lambs led by the tRIAL BAR! signed PIP is for PIMPS

Steven Golden

McCarty and Scott know nothing about Chiropractic care and therefor should keep out of this entire debate. They are so skewed in their pro Ins. views, that they actually think massage and acupuncture shouldn't be covered. All this points to mainstream bias and Ins. propaganda. This sort of exclusivity is nothing more than antitrust issues to attempt to eliminate any type of treatment that isn't funded by the establishment. This wreaks of limiting the individuals right to be treated by whomever they want, and they shouldn't have to answer to criminals like Rick Scott to do it!

jason

Judge and Steven are both absolutly correct. This bill only hurts Chiropractors, massage therapists and the people who trust them. Rick Scott is completely in the pocket of the insurance Co. lock stock and barrel.

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