Bill to Repeal PIP on Governor DeSantis’ Desk
There have been many attempts over the years to repeal (or fix) Florida’s no-fault insurance law. Why? Florida has long been considered one of the most fraud-susceptible states in the nation, and as a result its motorists pay some of the highest insurance premiums.
This year, however, the legislature has finally passed a bill to repeal Personal injury Protection (PIP). The bill (Florida SB 54 “Motor Vehicle Insurance”) which would make Florida an at-fault automobile insurance state, transitioning from a no-fault state, passed through the Florida Legislature on April 30, the last day of the 2021 regular session.
The bill would repeal provisions which comprise the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law and further revise the motor vehicle coverages that an applicant must show in order to register certain vehicles with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
The bill would also revise minimum liability coverage requiring motorists to have a policy that provides:
- $25,000 coverage for a single person injured in an accident; or
- $50,000 when two or more people are injured; and,
- $10,000 for property insurance damage.
Presently, Florida does not require motorists to carry bodily injury coverage.
Impact on litigation
If the bill is signed by Governor DeSantis, it would end new PIP claims. Pursuant to F.S. 624.156, it would also set out a system for pursuing first and third-party bad faith actions against insurers. The bill would set out a list of actions that insurers could follow to demonstrate “good faith.” However, critics believe that while PIP lawsuits would go away, bad faith litigation may actually increase.
Backers of the legislation said it would lower insurance rates for most Florida Drivers by five to six percent and up to 15% in some areas of the state, if not more, and further eliminate fraud. There is a plethora of litigation surrounding PIP lawsuits. While PIP was implemented to limit litigation it has actually done the opposite. PIP fraud is rampant in Florida. Critics have indicated that insurance rates would actually rise. Further, there is concern more Floridians would simply opt to not have insurance. (Approximately 20% of vehicles on the road are already uninsured.)
If Governor DeSantis signs the bill, it would become effective January 1, 2022.