With the Legislature getting ready to hold its regular session in Tallahassee at the start of the new year, on Tuesday, the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF) released its policy priorities for 2022.
PIFF’s focus remains on addressing challenges in the insurance marketplace, in order to lower rates, expand choices and foster competition.
“The greatest challenges in Florida are rising rates in the property market,” said Michael Carlson, the president and CEO of PIFF. “These increases are caused largely by roofing claims and litigation. In addition, recent Personal Injury Protection (PIP) repeal proposals would disrupt a largely healthy auto insurance market, raising rates for millions of drivers. We need to protect insurance consumers from unnecessary and harmful rate increases.”
PIFF’s 2022 priorities include working to ensure a healthy and competitive insurance marketplace that can continue to help communities recover and rebuild after every storm. The health of the marketplace means looking out for automobile drivers as well, which is why keeping the brakes on PIP repeal is atop the organization’s policy agenda.
“Last Session, Governor Ron DeSantis was right to veto a PIP repeal bill that would have increased the cost of auto insurance for millions of Florida motorists who can least afford rate increases,” added Carlson. “This coming Session, we hope Florida leaders stay the course. Forcing Floridians to buy more auto insurance will increase the number of uninsured drivers on the road.”
PIFF’s 2022 legislative focus includes:
Keeping the Breaks on the Repeal of PIP (Florida’s No-Fault Motor Vehicle Law)
PIFF members opposed legislation filed in 2021 that would have repealed the PIP law and imposed a more expensive bodily injury insurance requirement, creating a new, costly PIP-like medical payments coverage requirement, and made permanent trial lawyer-friendly case law for determining third-party bad faith.
This legislation might be making a comeback, and PIFF strongly opposes the concept. According to a report commissioned by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR), rates could increase for millions of Florida drivers by up to 77 percent for low-limits drivers who do not opt out of medical payments and 48 percent for those who do opt out of med PIP repeal legislation that was vetoed by Governor DeSantis.
A 2021 industry study estimates that more than 20 percent of drivers in Florida, or one in five vehicles on the road, is currently uninsured. This is caused in-part by a lack of affordability; Florida has the fourth-highest average premium of any state due to well-known litigation abuse.
OIR stated that rates will increase if Florida moves to the mandatory bodily injury system proposed last Session — data points to significant rate increases for millions of drivers who buy low limits.
PIFF members support efforts to continue to reign in property claims cost increases and litigation, largely driven by a cottage industry of unscrupulous roofers and other vendors as well as a coterie of trial lawyers who profit from questionable lawsuits.
Property rates are rising by double digits, insurers are withdrawing from parts of the Florida market, and Citizens Property Insurance Corporation continues to grow at a dramatic pace. These are troubling signs for consumers, who have fewer options for insurance and are paying more. The single greatest driver of these costs is unnecessary litigation.
PIFF members oppose the creation of a private cause of action and statutory damages for violations of the proposed data privacy law. Given the highly regulated nature of the financial services industry, PIFF believes there should be an exemption from any data privacy law for entities regulated under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, or in the alternative, that any data privacy law must be carefully tailored to cover only those entities who are in the business of collecting and selling personal data.
Insurance Regulatory Reform
PIFF members support legislative measures such as the insurance “omnibus” bills that will ease unnecessary regulatory burdens, enhance the customer experience and make the insurance market more efficient and competitive.
PIFF members support efforts to eliminate “phantom damages” in personal injury lawsuits, provide fairness and balance in the area of third-party auto bad faith, and add transparency and consumer protection provisions to litigation finance loans.
Auto Glass Harvesting
PIFF members support efforts to address ongoing auto glass claims and litigation abuse. Meaningful attorney fee reform would resolve this problem by removing the incentive for bad actors to engage in unscrupulous conduct.
This week, the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida will sponsor and participate in the Florida Chamber Annual Insurance Summit, where attendees will hear from industry leaders and government officials on the state of insurance in Florida. Michael Carlson is set to moderate a panel titled “The View from Citizens Property Insurance: Growth & Litigation Environment.”