After a long wait, Gov. Ron DeSantis has vetoed Senate Bill 54 sponsored by Senator Danny Burgess that would have abolished Florida’s longstanding no-fault law. Under this law that has been in effect since 1979 (with some modifications since then), Florida residents have been required to carry $10,000.00 in Personal Injury Protection coverage. This mandatory insurance is designed to pay for medical expenses and lost wages with a cap of $10,000.00 regardless of who may have caused a motor vehicle accident. It is essentially like health insurance for a car accident.
Gov. DeSantis vetoed this bill despite it passing overwhelmingly in the House by a vote of 100 – 16, and in the Senate by a vote of 37 – 3. In a letter written by Gov. DeSantis he notes that,
“While the PIP system has flaws and Florida law regarding bad faith is deficient … SB 54 does not adequately address the current issues facing Florida drivers and may have unintended consequences that would negatively impact both the market and consumers.”
These unintended consequences were emphasized by Florida Insurance Commissioner David Atmaeir whose office released an actuarial study this past Monday concluding that repealing PIP would actually lead to an average increase of $202.00 per vehicle (13.3% annually) for Florida consumers. Representatives opposing SB 54 argued that the consequences of a PIP repeal would be placed on the poorest Florida residents whose rates would increase the most.
Our elected Representatives who supported the repeal of PIP and SB 54 argued that the repeal of PIP would result in a decrease in insurance rates. However, historically modifications in PIP legislation that were designed to combat allegations of fraud have not ultimately resulted in any such savings to consumers.
In vetoing SB 54, Gov. DeSantis has shown his willingness to side against the majority of the Representatives from both the House and Senate for what he believes will ultimately result in the best interest of Florida’s residents. Time will tell what the future of PIP holds, but for now it will remain status quo.
Our lawyers at Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith have over 275 combined years of experience in insurance litigation and representing those who have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. While PIP insurance remains mandatory if you insure a motor vehicle in Florida, many other very important insurance coverages remain optional. If you have questions about the optimal insurance coverage you need to best protect you and your family please contact our law firm for a free consultation.