Make us your home page
Instagram

Senate PIP reforms get warm reception

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Senate's plan to reform the no-fault auto insurance program has already achieved what its counterpart in the House has not: unanimous approval from a committee.

Insurers and business groups have sided in favor of the House proposal, while Democrats, consumer advocacy organizations and attorneys have lined up against it. But the Senate legislation received almost universal support from them all in its first committee hearing Thursday.

Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, who sponsored the legislation, said reducing PIP fraud was his primary goal, but he also did not want to penalize people who file legitimate claims and receive treatment from reputable health care professionals.

"Let's make sure that insurance companies are paying them in a timely manner with a reasonable rate," he told the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

The Senate plan excludes massage therapy and acupuncture from the list of allowable treatments under the personal injury protection, or PIP, system. It also tightens licensing requirements for medical clinics, requires long-form crash reports when someone is injured in a crash and creates a statewide organization to help fight PIP abuses.

The House's approach is much more controversial, mainly because it requires people injured in an auto accident to be treated first in an emergency room. It also caps attorneys fees and allows insurance companies to examine policyholders and doctors under oath when investigating claims.

Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, said the plan received bipartisan support because it reflects a series of compromises that appeases all sides while still leaving them wanting more.

"People weren't totally unhappy, and people weren't totally happy," she said. "That means it's a good bill."

The proposal must be approved by another committee before it reaches the Senate floor. If the two chambers cannot agree on an identical version of the legislation, one side will have to relent or, in rare instances, a joint House-Senate conference committee will be formed to resolve the differences.

Tia Mitchell can be reached at tmitchell@tampabay.com or (850) 224-7263.

Senate PIP reforms get warm reception 02/02/12 [Last modified: Thursday, February 2, 2012 10:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park

    Business

    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers

    Business

    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Banking

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]