PIP repeal killed in Senate as sponsor says foes ‘lying’ about rates

A Florida Senate panel voted down repeal of the state’s no-fault car insurance system Wednesday as opponents warned of massive rate hikes and the bill’s sponsor, a former chamber president, bluntly accused them of “lying through their teeth.”

Sen. Tom Lee

“These people don’t care about the rate increases that they’re lying through their teeth are going to happen,” said Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon. “I think a lot of the information you’re hearing today is not really honest.”

Instead this became a proxy fight about lawsuit reforms that have stalled for years in the legislature, not about repealing Florida’s no-fault system, Lee told the Senate appropriations subcommittee on health and human services.

The Florida House passed 88-15 a  bill that repeals the state’s requirement drivers buy $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection to cover the driver’s own injuries in an accident. HB 19 requires drivers to buy bodily-injury liability coverage, as all but two other states do.

A state-commissioned actuarial study found House-style repeal would save drivers $81 per car or 6.7 percent on average overall bills.

Florida drivers pay among the nation’s top six average premiums and PIP rates rose up to 54 percent among the state’s top 25 insurers in 2017, and on average 35 percent faster than overall premiums, The Palm Beach Post reported.

Though PIP was designed to avoid litigation, PIP lawsuits rose to a record of more than 60,000 in 2017, jumping close to 50 percent in one year, the Post reported. Lee mentioned that statistic Wednesday.

But the 6-1 vote in the Senate panel all but extinguishes repeal hopes for another year.

The Senate version, SB 150, required drivers to buy $5,000 of medical payments coverage, which doctors and hospitals wanted but opponents called recreating PIP under another name and wiping out driver savings. Still, keeping alive the Senate bill offered a chance to negotiate with the House.

Brad Nail, a senior manager for insurance and public policy for ride-sharing company Uber, said states that persist with no-fault systems are consistently “plagued with higher costs.”

“Voting for the bill keeps alive the hope for consumers of a better auto insurance system,” Nail told senators.

Insurance and medical lobbyists found an ally in Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier.

“We are respectfully and regretfully opposed,” Altmaier said.

Asked by a legislator who said she heard rates would go up 71 percent in Broward County after repeal, Altmaier let that assertion stand. He spoke exclusively about a subset of drivers that represent about 7.6 percent of drivers in the county, according to the Pinnacle Actuarial Resources Inc. report. They buy only the state-requirement minimum including $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection to cover a driver’s own injuries in an accident, meaning they have no coverage to take responsibility for injuries they cause to others.

“It’s a reasonable assessment,” Altmaier said.

He chose not to mention savings the Pinnacle study projected for the vast majority of drivers under the House bill or any savings from eliminating recurring PIP fraud in a system designed to make payments almost automatic. Most Florida drivers have health insurance such as Medicare or employer plans that means they do not need PIP in the first place, yet they are forced to pay for its rate increases each year.

“PIP is worthless,” driver Leo Solar of West Palm Beach, who has Medicare, said. “It’s just like throwing your money away.”

The six-month PIP premium Solar paid last November was $249.30, the Post reported, It has climbed more than 40 percent from the $175.46 he paid in November of 2015.

But to hear insurance lobbyists talk, the real problem was what would happen if PIP were repealed.

Michael Carlson, president of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, representing insurance companies covering about 4 million Florida drivers, asserted even the Pinnacle study projected higher rates.

“Everyone concludes there will be some rate increase for Floridians,” Carlson said.

So the news for Florida drivers was forget about relief from paying some of the nation’s highest rates, as a roomful of industry lobbyists converged to smother repeal hopes.

Lee said he felt like a man who had to managed to “kick the top off an anthill.”

 

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.”

 

PIP car insurance, built to curb lawsuits, spurs record pile instead

A no-fault car insurance system that was supposed to reduce lawsuits in Florida has instead produced an all-time high mountain of more than 60,000 of them in 2017, a new report shows.

Source: Florida Justice Reform Institute report.

That represents a stunning rise of close to 50 percent in one year, according to data from The Florida Justice Reform Institute, a group that says it fights against wasteful litigation.

So are insurers rushing to tell legislators to repeal Florida’s Personal Injury Protection system before the session ends in early March? Guess again.

An insurance industry group never mentions PIP in its statement on the lawsuit report and has urged lawmakers to put off repeal another year.

Who benefits from keeping the current system? Florida’s top 25 car insurers have raised PIP rates up to 54 percent since the start of 2017, and on average hiked them 35 percent faster than overall premiums, The Palm Beach Post reported.

Florida drivers pay among the nation’s top six car insurance bills in one of the few states that retain a no-fault system. The state forces drivers to buy $10,000 of PIP to cover the driver’s own injuries in an accident regardless of who is at fault, no matter how much health insurance the consumer already has.

One of the justifications for PIP when it was created the 1970s was to reduce lawsuits after minor car accidents.

Almost half a century later, PIP’s relatively small benefit has hardly changed and in no way kept up with medical inflation, yet it is driving consumer rate increases and, in a final irony, leading the lawsuit parade.

Who’s suing? The lawsuits measured in the report are typically not filed by ordinary drivers but chiropractors, clinics, imaging centers and other medical providers suing insurers to get paid for PIP claims, researchers say.

PIP represents by far the largest source for a type of lawsuit that FJRI officials say is responsible for more than half of the state’s overall insurance litigation and is driving up consumer costs. It’s associated with an arrangement known as “assignment of benefits” or AOB.

It happens when third parties like a repair contractor or medical clinic tell consumers we’ll handle the claim for you if you sign this form assigning us the insurance benefit. It’s not uncommon in health care and other fields. Insurers say the trouble is, Florida’s laws provide too many incentives for some of the third parties take the insurers to court.

Yet you’d never know that PIP was involved in any way from an insurance industry group’s statement on the AOB lawsuit report. The focus is exclusively on property insurance claims representing about one-sixth as many suits compared to PIP, and auto windshield claims representing about a third as many. Insurers say these categories are growing, and PIP repeal must wait for reforms affecting lawyer fees that have stalled in the legislature for half a dozen years and seem likely to deadlock again.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of property and auto glass claims because one-way attorney fees are incentivizing AOB abuse,’’ said Logan McFaddin, the Florida-based regional manager for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. “Legislative reform is desperately needed to curtail the number of fake or inflated claims and lawsuits. Now is the time for legislators to protect Floridians from these bad actors and help reduce insurance costs.”

OK, but how about repealing PIP and lopping off the source of the majority of AOB suits in one stroke? Then pursue additional lawsuit reforms? At least two important insurance lobby groups in Tallahassee say no thanks.

The net effect: drivers keep paying rising premiums to insurers. A state-commissioned actuarial report said drivers could save up to $81 per car if Florida repealed PIP and required bodily-injury liability coverage. A bill that passed the House 88-15 would do that. Florida is one of only two states that do not require BI insurance to make drivers responsible for injuries to others.

A Senate PIP repeal bill remains stuck in committee as the session nears its end. Asked by a Post correspondent about the issue, Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, offered a recap of committee stops with no comment on whether leadership believes it merits further attention or a vote on the floor.

“That bill has moved through one committee in the process with a favorable vote and is now in health and human services appropriations (committee), so it would be up to that committee to decide whether they want to take up the bill in the final time we’re here for session,” Negron said last week. “The short answer would be it’s undetermined.”

Instead of championing a chance for driver savings, insurers put out their own report that said rates would go up 5.3 percent under the House bill. The report prepared by Milliman Inc. for PCI acknowledged it used unverified, unaudited data from a subset of member companies that could be “biased” and chose to ignore any savings from eliminating PIP fraud. A group representing trial attorneys blasted it as not credible and inconsistent with the state report and with consumer savings in other states that dropped no-fault systems, including Colorado and Georgia.

So what’s the story? Insurers raise rates up to 54 percent in a year for PIP. Then lobbyists claim late in the session that rates would also go up under the House repeal plan. They encourage legislators not to believe a state-commissioned actuarial report that said drivers could save an average of near 6 percent on their overall bills after PIP repeal.

Now a report shows PIP is responsible for most of the lawsuits insurers are complaining about. It’s the elephant in the room, the biggest part of the mountain.

But apparently it’s not fit for mention.

See an expanded story version of this post here.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t raise driver bills with no-fault PIP reform, insurer group says

Florida legislators have a chance to save drivers close to $1 billion a year by ending the state’s no-fault car insurance system after nearly five decades, but not if they adopt a Senate version expected to be considered a day after the session opens Tuesday, an industry group said.

SB 150 sponsored by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, would require both bodily-injury liability coverage and $5,000 of medical payments coverage, eventually raising driver premiums according to staff analysis. The medpay insurance would force the vast majority of drivers to pay again for medical insurance they already have, not unlike the Personal Injury Protection system it would be replace.

“We respect the Senate’s prerogative in taking up an important public policy issue like PIP repeal, but this bill overreaches in a way that will increase premiums for many motorists,” said Michael Carlson, president of Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, said in a statement Monday. Its members include Allstate, Farmers, Progressive and State Farm.

In contrast, the House bill, HB 19, would not require medical payments coverage. It could be considered by the full House as early as Thursday, potentially saving drivers up to $81 per car according to a 2016 actuarial report commissioned by the state.

The Senate bill’s sponsor says it is designed to protect hospitals by making sure all drivers have some basic coverage, because medical centers are required to treat them in an emergency. It is expected to be heard in the Senate banking and insurance committee Wednesday.

“For drivers who may otherwise benefit from potential savings created by repeal of PIP, adding a mandatory medical payments coverage will erode these savings,” Carlson said. “For Floridians who have health insurance and are forced to buy medical payments coverage, this will be a double whammy.”

PIFF’s position: Mandatory coverage levels should not be set so high they increase the cost of insurance and drive up the number of uninsured drivers.

“There should be no mandatory first-party medical payments coverage, which is freely available in the market today, and would be redundant for Floridians who already have health insurance,” the group said.

Along with other insurer groups, PIFF wants reforms to Florida’s third-party “bad faith” law they say benefits lawyers but hurts insurers and raises costs. Lawyer groups oppose mixing that issue into the bill, presenting the risk of a scuttling morass.

Florida is one of two states that do not require liability insurance to cover injuries to others. It requires drivers to buy $10,000 worth of Personal Injury Protection to cover each driver’s own injuries, no matter how much insurance they already have from Medicare, private health plans or other coverage. The system has labored under a long history of  bill-padding and fraud, and under PIP, hospitals in Palm Beach County and across the state have charged up to 65 times what Medicare pays for scans to detect injuries, according to lawsuits.

Frustrated drivers say they are forced to pay for rising PIP rates even if they never get in an accident. Insurers raised PIP rates up to 40 percent and an average of 25 percent in 2015 and early 2016, state records show.

Florida drivers still pay twice for health insurance in Senate plan

Florida drivers  could save up to $81 per car by ending the state’s no-fault car insurance system, research shows, but a state Senate bill discussed Tuesday neutralizes most of the savings as a 2018 showdown shapes up.

SB 150 would “protect hospitals frankly,” Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, told his chamber’s banking and insurance committee.

State Sen. Tom Lee talks about his PIP repeal bill Tuesday.

That’s by requiring drivers to buy $5,000 in medical payments coverage to cover injuries in accidents, no matter how much health insurance drivers already have from Medicare, employer plans or other policies. Lobbyists for hospitals and doctors have argued that is necessary to make sure drivers have at least some coverage in an accident, though legislative proposals they favor would make everyone buy it, not just those who cannot demonstrate they already have health insurance.

A House bill that repeals the no-fault system without requiring medical payments coverage is headed for the chamber floor when the session opens in January.

The Senate panel adjourned Tuesday in mid-discussion, but officials said a vote was likely at its next meeting in a few weeks.

Since the 1970s, Florida has made drivers to buy $10,000 worth of Personal Injury Protection coverage for injuries in minor accidents regardless of who is at fault. Sponsors of both Senate and House plans agree it’s a fraud-plagued and flawed system and Florida should join nearly every other state in requiring bodily-injury liability insurance, which most of  the state’s drivers already carry anyway. But the bills differ importantly on how to get there.

Florida drivers pay among the five highest car insurance premiums in the nation, for some of the lowest required coverage amounts, a state Senate panel heard last session. Florida lets unsafe drivers avoid responsibility for what they do while safe drivers are forced to pay the bill through rising PIP rates, repeal supporters say.

Paying twice for health insurance is “like double taxation,” as one Delray Beach driver has put it.

PIP repeal: House panel votes to overturn no-fault plan in Florida

A drive to repeal the state’s no-fault car insurance system after nearly half a century cleared an early hurdle in a renewed run Tuesday.  Its next stop: The House floor when the 2018 session starts in January.

Rep. Grall advocates for PIP repeal in the House commerce committee Tuesday.

HB 19 sponsored by Rep. Erin Grall,  R-Vero Beach, repeals the state’s Personal Injury Protection law in place since 1971 and replaces it with required bodily-injury liability coverage, which nearly all states require and most Florida drivers already have.

The 18-7 vote offers hope to drivers who are fed up with the current system. They stand to save up to $81 per car or nearly $1 billion annually according to actuarial studies — by no longer having to pay for a form of car insurance long plagued by fraud and high costs.

“Why should they have to buy more health insurance but only for their car?” Dale Swope, president of the Florida Justice Association, said before the committee. “It makes no sense to our older drivers and veterans.”

For that matter, the same question applies to the vast majority of Florida drivers who have health insurance from employer plans or other sources.

Groups representing doctors, emergency providers and others in the medical industry voiced opposition. Whatever its problems, PIP provides  coverage providers can count on for medical expenses after accidents, said Fraser Cobbe, representing the Florida Orthopedic Society.

“We are very concerned about components of the bill,” Cobbe said, indicating he will continue to talk with sponsors about including mandatory coverage for medical payments.

But supporters of medical-payments coverage typically want everyone to be forced to buy it, not just those lacking health coverage.

Representatives of insurers including Allstate and Progressive chose not to speak but indicated opposition to the bill. Some industry groups said they want lawmakers to reform Florida’s “bad faith” laws they say drive up costs in lawsuits.

The Personal Injury Protection system is designed to provide $10,000 to cover injuries in minor  accidents regardless of who is at fault. Reform attempts in 2012 reduced  “non-emergency” benefits to $2,500 and barred acupuncture and massage, but that was followed by a spike in the percentage of claims that purported to be for emergency care.

A string of reforms have failed to prevent rising premiums for coverage that duplicates health insurance most drivers already have from Medicare or other health plans, bill supporters said.

The bill is nearly identical to legislation that passed the state House last year, 81-29.

A Senate version requiring $5,000 “medical payments” coverage, to help make sure emergency medical providers receive at least some reimbursement, did not reach a vote in the full chamber last spring. Supporters of the House bill say required “medical payments” coverage just renames PIP and wipes out most driver savings on car insurance.

Florida drivers pay among the five highest car insurance premiums in the nation, for some of the lowest required coverage amounts, a state Senate panel heard last session. Florida lets unsafe drivers avoid responsibility while safe drivers are forced to pay the bill, repeal supporters say.

Florida is one of two states that do not require bodily-injury liability coverage, Grall has pointed out.

Two dozen states have dropped no-fault systems in recent decades, leaving Florida among a dwindling number that retain them. Colorado drivers saved 35 percent on their overall car insurance premiums after dropping a no-fault system there.

Drivers like Dick Natalizio of Palm Beach have called Florida’s system a “joke” as PIP premiums have shot up an average of 25 percent since the start of 2015. Even drivers who never get in an accident are forced by state government to buy it.

“I have Medicare,” he said. “They force me to buy PIP. It’s so ridiculous.”

Irma: 215K vehicle claims flood insurers on top of record Harvey

In the same season Hurricane Harvey is smashing records for vehicle insurance claims, a report out today says Hurricane Irma has generated a hefty number of its own in Florida — more than 215,000.

More than 422,000 claims in Texas include massive numbers of vehicles taken to lots to be auctioned off for parts or scrapped, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. That blows past vehicle claims from Hurricane Katrina (about 300,000) and from Superstorm Sandy (250,500), says the Des Plaines, Ill.-based nonprofit organization funded by the insurance industry.

But Irma is not far behind with more than 215,000 vehicle claims in Florida, whether from flooding, wind-blown debris or other causes, the group says.

What does this mean for consumers? One issue to watch is flooded cars making their way to used-car lots or classified ads, NICB says.

While many flooded cars will sold for parts or scrapped, some unscrupulous merchants will buy a vehicle, clean it up, and take it to another state where they will obtain a “clean” title and sell it with no warning that it has been flooded, the organization cautions.

Consumers can check vehicle identification numbers but that won’t protect against all forms of shady dealing, such as cases where cars without comprehensive insurance to cover flood damage are cleaned up and sold without a record that they were flooded. Buyers should have cars checked out by a mechanic or watch for signs of water damage under carpets or in other places not easily visible.

Florida insurance commissioner David Altmaier told Florida’s Cabinet this week that “upward pressure” on homeowners’ rates is likely after the busy storm season.

Analysts expect increases in car insurance premiums as well, though how much is not yet clear.

Another matter is whether the record-breaking combination of storms puts financial pressure on insurers to delay or deny more claims than they normally might. Companies typically deny this, but groups including the Consumer Federation of America advise policyholders to be ready to challenge or appeal denials they believe are not justified.

Consumers with questions or complaints about insurance claims can contact Florida’s division of consumer services at (877) 693-5236.

 

West Palm Beach region ranks dead last in car affordability index

Honk if this sounds a little too familiar: The South Florida region that includes West Palm Beach and Miami sputters to a stop as worst in the nation for affording a car, according to a study by Bankrate.com of North Palm Beach.

It’s not a mere mismatch of the salaries of regular working folks to the sticker price on a vehicle, researchers said. Other stuff that comes with a car costs more in some places than others. And we aren’t talking pine-tree air freshener.

“Car insurance was a big factor,” said Bankrate.com analyst Claes Bell.

Throw in other things like a relatively high sales tax in a state without an income tax, and you’ve got West Palm Beach-Fort Lauderdale-Miami pulling in last among 25 big metro areas it examined.

Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, where salaries tended to match up favorably to car prices, came out on top of this particular index.

Here’s how Bankrate looked at it. It figured what a driver could afford by putting down 20 percent of a vehicle’s purchase price, taking out a car loan for no more than four years, and devoting no more than 10 percent of her annual income to car payments, interest and insurance.

Now it’s true South Florida drivers with decent credit can steer around some of these limitations and get deals with little money down and loans longer than four years in today’s environment of historically low interest rates.

But the analysis does bring out the impact of relatively high insurance costs. Florida has consistently ranked in the top 10 states for average car insurance premiums and the bills tend to run higher in this end of the state.

Bankrate cites the example of Brooke Waszak, a real estate agent in Lake Worth. She traded in an older vehicle for a late-model used car and saw insurance premiums jump more than 100 percent. That came as a shock: “I didn’t factor it in at all.”

 

 

 

 

Why it’s good news a Florida teen driver adds 69% to insurance bill

Add a teen driver to your Florida household, and the insurance bill goes up 69 percent, a new study finds. And that’s the good news.

While that might not sound like a reason to turn cartwheels, exactly, it’s an improvement. Last year Florida’s average increase was 82 percent and above the national norm.

Now Florida falls among the 10 states with the lowest teen-driven increases, according to insuranceQuotes.com, affiliated with bankrate.com of North Palm Beach.

The main lesson is apparently do not have a teenager who  wants to drive in Rhode Island. Increase there: 153 percent. Teens in Hawaii move the needle the least, 8 percent. Hawaii restricts what insurers can charge by age.

The survey obtained quotes from a set of insurers in each state for a married couple adding a teen driver.

Make no mistake: Teen drivers are still three times more likely to get into accidents, said Insurance Institute for Highway Safety spokesman Russ Rader.

“It’s not so much that teens are suddenly safer drivers, but they’re benefiting from safer cars and laws that restrict when, and under what conditions, they can drive,” Rader said.

Fatal crashes with drivers under 20 are down 43 percent since 2006, federal statistics show. Sure, it’s never going to be fun to star in I Was A Teenage Driver’s Insurance Buyer,  even if you are a teen paying your own way. But at least the trends seem to be going in the right direction.

Geico hustles to close ‘gaps’ for Uber, Lyft drivers as bill signed

Gov. Rick Scott has signed a bill to set insurance standards for rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, but Florida’s top car insurer does not necessarily cover their drivers at the moment — even if they have Geico policies and think they are covered.

(Palm Beach Post staff file photo)

Geico says a new rideshare policy is in the works for Florida, and state regulators say they are set to complete a review of the filing by May 15. But it highlights potential confusion and gaps for tens of thousands of drivers and riders as state and industry officials try to keep pace with the surging gig business.

And it could mean higher costs for drivers if they are asked to buy a form of commercial coverage instead of a regular personal policy.

Judging by what is happening in other states, at least some competing companies are likely to offer a supplement to a standard personal policy that covers a rideshare driver in what is known as “period 1,” before accepting a ride. That still represents an increase in costs to the driver, but it can be considerably cheaper than buying a commercial policy.

The new state law, HB 221, was signed by the governor Tuesday. It takes effect July 1. It sets various levels of insurance that either the rideshare company or driver’s personal  policy must provide as drivers turn apps off and on and transition from regular civilians to the ride job. HB 221 describes the drivers as independent contractors.

The tricky part is that many standard personal policies exclude “livery” service, meaning driving for hire.

Rideshare companies like Uber stand ready to provide $1 million coverage if a passenger is actually in the vehicle, and lower amounts if the app is on and the driver has agreed to a pick-up, for example.

But it can be tougher to determine whose insurance, if any, applies in more ambiguous situations. Take a driver heading to a festival to get in position for potential fares — when is that person on duty or off?  And what about a driver who did not tell his insurer he does rideshare work, out of ignorance or fear he would be charged more? In an accident, does he risk having coverage denied completely, for himself or anyone he might hurt?

“It is common for personal policies to have livery exclusions,” said Geico spokesman Othello Powell.  “Many insurers elect to cancel the personal policy because it is not offering the right coverage for the policyholder.  We believe we offer the right coverage in 36 states with our rideshare policy which also covers on demand package delivery that is not typically covered on personal policies.”

Florida is not among the 36 states — yet.

“We are excited to share that we have filed our rideshare product in Florida and are currently waiting on the state to approve it,” Powell said. “With their approval, drivers will be able to quote and buy a GEICO Rideshare policy through our Commercial Lines department by calling 855-526-5295 or online at geicorideshare.com.”

Powell continued, “Using a vehicle to transport people for profit is considered commercial usage and therefore requires appropriate coverage.  Our new product provides unambiguous protection without subsidizing the costs of insurance through those with a standard personal auto policy. We are eagerly awaiting the state’s approval of our product, so Floridians are not burdened by potential coverage gaps.”

Uber spokesman Javi Correoso said, “Florida regulations require that ridesharing companies purchase primary insurance coverage and clarifies coverage responsibilities among insurers. We have seen the market for rideshare endorsements to personal auto policies expand in most of the states where similar legislation has been enacted.”

Uber sent emails Tuesday to drivers in eight states outside of Florida saying it will increase its rates by 5 cents per mile in an effort to get drivers to opt in to an injury-protection insurance program, philly.com reported.

The pilot program includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, South Carolina, West Virginia, Illinois, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts.

The fare increase is designed to pay for the 3.75 cents per mile cost of insurance for drivers who choose it. Drivers who don’t take the coverage can just pocket the money, but the news organization quoted an Uber spokesman as saying, “We believe drivers should have a low-cost option to protect themselves and their family against rare and unforeseen accidents that prevent them from working.”

For his part, Gov. Scott said, “I’m proud to sign this legislation today to make it easier for ridesharing companies to thrive in Florida and help ensure the safety of our families. Florida is one of the most business-friendly states in the nation because of our efforts to reduce burdensome regulations and encourage innovation and job creation across all industries, including transportation. I look forward to seeing the continued growth of ridesharing companies in our state.”