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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

As Legislature weighs PIP reform, staged accidents plummet in Hillsborough after county crackdown



Often criticized as the epicenter of auto insurance fraud in the state, Hillsborough County is turning its reputation around with a new ordinance targeting the problem.

"Since we passed the ordinance in September of last year, we have seen a 62 percent decrease in the number of staged accidents," County Commissioner Kevin Beckner said Saturday.

The ordinance closed a loophole that allowed fraudulent clinics to operate without a license. The clinics are now required to list the responsible physician, identify and provide background information for employees and maintain regular business hours. With about half of the clinics now closed, the number of staged accidents and questionable claims has dropped significantly, Beckner said.

It's a success rate that area law enforcement agencies would like to duplicate. They hope a new state law could help make that happen.

On Saturday, Gov. Rick Scott met in Tampa with representatives from several law enforcement agencies to discuss the impact that personal injury protection, known as PIP, fraud has on the region.

Story here.

[Last modified: Saturday, February 25, 2012 8:42pm]


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