Commentary by Zebersky Payne Shaw Lewenz, LLP
Florida’s Automobile Insurance Fraud Strike Force was created in 2012 to crack down on rampant personal injury insurance fraud. Because insurance fraud can artificially inflate rates through fraudulent payouts, the Strike Force is supposed to be a way to secure lower rates for Floridians.
The law keeps in place the $10,000 personal injury coverage for injuries resulting from an auto accident. But it places a $2,500 cap on non-emergency coverage. It also eliminates massages and chiropractic services from covered care, requires patients to seek care within two weeks of an incident, and calls for those involved in accidents to give testimony under oath.
The insurance industry in Florida has questioned whether the new regulations will actually lead to lower rates, or just mitigate rate hikes. But Florida CFO Jeff Atwater told reporters the insurance industry should quit complaining. “Quit the whining. This is about your consumers; it’s not about you,” Atwater told the Florida Current in August of 2012.
The Strike Force’s mission is to support the prosecution, investigation and prevention of motor vehicle insurance fraud. Members of the Strike Force include insurance industry representatives, State Attorneys, law enforcement representatives, health care representatives, and lawyers. Ed Zebersky, Zebersky Payne Shaw Lewenz, LLP, is member of this organization. It was created by a narrow margin on the last day of the 2012 Florida legislative session, but went into effect in January of 2013. So far arrests and prosecutions for insurance fraud are up over previous years.
The Florida CFO’s office has even instituted a Most Wanted list of people accused of insurance fraud. The top 10 are posted on the CFO’s website.
For more about Florida’s insurance fraud statutes and the Strike Force, contact us today.