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Jeff Brandes targets no-fault auto insurance


State Sen. Jeff Brandes, wants to get rid of a car insurance requirement he says makes driving more expensive in Florida.

On Tuesday, the St. Petersburg Republican filed legislation (SB 156) to repeal personal injury protection, or PIP, which covers minor accident claims, regardless of who was at fault.

Required under state law since 1972, drivers in Florida must carry $10,000 in PIP, which is also commonly referred to as "no-fault insurance." The idea was to quickly resolve small-dollar insurance claims that were clogging the courts and get payments to victims faster.

“PIP is a broken insurance system, and it does not reflect the reality of Florida’s transportation future,” Brandes said in a statement. “PIP fraud impacts every driver in our state, and no proposal is more effective at reducing premiums than a full repeal of PIP. It’s time to finally bring substantive reform to the automobile insurance market."

The PIP battle is likely to play out in the state Capitol, where the insurance industry holds a great deal of power. The legislative session begins March 7.

No House members have filed a PIP repeal yet.

In September, a report commissioned by the state found that repealing PIP could save drivers as much as $81 per car per year on insurance -- more than $1 billion statewide.

PIP, which accounts for roughly a quarter of insurance premiums' cost, has gotten more expensive in recent years. From January 2015 to the beginning of this year, rates rose by 15 percent, officials said earlier this year. And one major carrier, Allstate Fire & Casualty, raised PIP by 40 percent over a year.