Uber says repeal PIP the House way

A ride sharing company like Uber has to think a lot about car insurance and how it works in different states for the company and its drivers. It’s a fundamental business and safety issue.

Uber’s Stephanie Smith

That’s why it’s worth noting a top Florida official with the company on Monday backed repeal of the state’s no-fault insurance system under a bill the state House passed 88-15. The bill is projected to lower consumer rates while ending Florida’s lonely vigil, virtually alone among the states, in failing to require drivers to buy bodily-injury liability insurance to take basic responsibility for harm to others.

“If enacted, this bill (HB 19) would make our public roadways safer and would lower premiums for the average Floridian statewide by more than 8 percent for mandatory coverage,” wrote Stephanie Smith, Uber Florida’s senior public policy manager, in floridapolitics.com.

A bill that a Senate committee may hear Wednesday, SB 150, is forecast to raise rates by recreating a form of the current Personal Injury Protection system that forces drivers to buy medical insurance on their car insurance policy.  Currently, motorists must buy $10,000 of PIP to cover a driver’s own injuries regardless of who is at fault in an accident. The Senate bill would require BI but also $5,000 of “medical payments” coverage.

Smith wrote, “PIP is a vestige of the 1970s insurance reform movement that has failed to accomplish what the academics who dreamed it up believed it would do. The goal of PIP was to eliminate lawsuits over minor injuries and lower overall auto insurance rates.”

Here is what really happened:  PIP lawsuits exploded to a record of more than 60,000 in 2017, The Palm Beach Post reported Monday.

Florida’s top 25 insurers raised PIP rates up to 54 percent in 2017 and on average 35 percent faster than overall rates, according to state records the Post requested.

“The reality is PIP continues to be a cottage industry devoted to extracting money from insurers, even when there is no merit to the claims,” Smith said.

She continued, “After an initial wave of PIP laws in the 1970s, no state has enacted a no-fault system like PIP again, and several states have wisely abandoned PIP due to the cost and the fraud inherent in the system.”


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