The battle against Personal Injury Protection (PIP) fraud is beginning to pay off in Florida. Better laws and tougher enforcement have pushed down the number of questionable claims related to car accidents, according to a data analysis by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Florida has long been a hotbed of PIP abuses, with staged car accidents, insurance claims for medical services not needed or given, and excessive billing. A state reform law that went into effect in 2012 has survived legal challenges and stepped-up prosecution of fraudsters are showing results.
The bureau says that while the number of questionable car insurance claims rose 22.9 percent from 2010 through 2013, the figure fell 7.67 percent between 2012 and 2013.
The decrease isn’t a statistical oddity. Questionable claims fell an average of 20 percent in four of the five cities with the worst PIP fraud problems:
- Miami: Up 59% from 2010-2013, down 26% from2012-2013
- Hialeah: Up 22% from 2010-2013, down 15% from2012-2013
- Orlando: Up 0.3% from 2010-2013, down 8% from2012-2013
- Jacksonville: Up 620% from 2010-2013, down 24% from2012-2013
It’s worth noting that questionable claims fell in Tampa during the four-year period due in large part to a county ordinance that cracked down on fraud. However, a lawsuit has blocked that effective tool against crime.
“We are encouraged by the decline in questionable claims that we’ve seen recently, but by no means are we declaring victory in Florida,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “Florida remains a hotbed for fraudulent activity and we can’t afford to ease up for a moment in our fight against those who would abuse the system and burden Florida consumers.”