The Gainesville Sun — Daley on Florida’s Insurance Fraud

 

Published April 21, 2011 – online link

Time to Stop Criminal Parasites: Act Now

 

Florida has a fleeting chance to arrest auto-crash medical fraud and the high ticket lawsuits that fuel this criminal enterprise.  Staged auto-crashes put innocent Floridians in harm’s way.  Questionable medical treatments for crash scammers and the double and a half fee “earned” by their trial lawyers make these crimes profitable.  Senate Bills 1930 and 1694 will fix the personal injury protection problems when the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee put these protections up for a vote – as Floridians deserve.  Obviously those who profit from staged crashes will argue that the committee should take no constructive action.  But, Floridians are being victimized twice and it’s time for their elected representatives to act constructively.

 

Floridians are the innocents injured in staged car crashes and Floridians are forced to pay hideous costs for settling the lawsuits brought by the scammers.  The staged car crash/medical fraud criminal duo is well served by the extra high fees for their attorneys as allowed under current personal injury law.  The result is a growth industry since 2008 when no-fault insurance regulations set up a scammer’s incubator, and by 2010 incurred losses had jumped 54%.  The criminals waste no time after they sign up for insurance coverage – 14% of all new policies result in a claim within 30 days; in 2006 it was 8% as one would expect.  Across all medical claims (legitimate and fraudulent), the length of medical treatment has remained the same, but the number of medical procedures per claim has increased 59% from 2006 to 2010.  In 2010 for every dollar of insurance premium paid by Floridians, over $1.04 was paid out purely in court awards, legal defense and cost containment expenses.  Criminal parasites are sucking dry the insurance industry’s personal injury protection coverage.

 

When payouts exceed premiums, insurance companies stop offering coverage or hike their rates to allow their own survival.  Indeed in self-defense, some insurers have ceased offering coverage to those who have a prior personal injury claim within the last 3 years.  If Florida consumers don’t get the protections of the Senate’s insurance reform bills, they had better prepare for fewer insurance competitors and higher insurance rates.  Those ugly outcomes are byproducts of a criminal industry that the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee can and should shut down, immediately.

 

Alan Daley is a retired businessman living in Florida.  He follows public policy issues from the consumer’s perspective

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