Jeff Atwater, Florida’s chief financial officer, has received a key commendation from the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
The PCI welcomed Atwater at its recent State of the Florida Insurance Market Summit, where the state official was an invited speaker. Atwater told the group that Florida ranks number one in the nation in questionable auto claims, and that he would keep a spotlight on the issue.
In staged auto accidents, the participants invent injuries. Medical clinics that are part of the scams submit bills to auto insurance companies for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. The charges are often for examinations never given and treatment never received.
“We are very pleased with CFO Atwater’s stated determination to expose and curtail the rampant auto-claim fraud that has contributed to Florida having some of the nation’s highest auto insurance rates,” said William Stander, PCI’s assistant vice president and regional manager for Florida.”
“The state’s high frequency of staged accidents and fraudulent claims drive up costs and ultimately hurt consumers. CFO Atwater deserves praise for his work on this issue, on behalf of Florida drivers,” he said.
PCI found in a recent study that Florida has had the highest number of questionable auto claims resulting from staged-caused accidents in the nation for three years running. There were 1,446 such claims in 2009, the last full year for which PCI has data. PCI is composed of more than 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross-section of insurers of any national trade association.
Based on the latest data available, Florida motorists as a group pay the 2nd highest auto liability insurance premium in the nation. The 2007 average annual liability premium is $719, which is 51 percent higher than the national mean of $475.
“Out of control auto insurance fraud is taking money out of all Floridians’ pockets, and we at PCI support CFO Atwater’s courageous efforts to deal with this problem,” Stander said. “PCI stands ready to help in any way we can.”