Gear Up Florida recently unveiled a new coalition to put
the brakes on automobile accident fraud in Florida. The coalition comprised
of Florida residents, law enforcement agencies and business associations is
dedicated to protecting Florida’s insurance consumers from soaring costs
resulting from the abuse of Florida’s no-fault law.
"We want to end automobile accident fraud and the
organized systems that support it," said Associated Industries of Florida
General Counsel Tammy Perdue. "Legislative action in 2012 is essential to
protect Florida’s businesses and insurance consumers from what government
officials have called ‘a nearly $1 billion fraud tax on Florida
According to the coalition, as a result of accident
fraud, Florida insurance consumers pay 56 percent more than consumers in other
states for automobile insurance premiums an average of $736 in Florida versus
$471 countrywide. Staged accidents, rampant litigation and unscrupulous medical
clinics that provide services to personal injury protection claimants have
created what the coalition calls a "perfect storm of skyrocketing costs
for honest Florida consumers."
The coalition states that Florida leads the nation in
staged automobile accidents and questionable insurance claims. Four of the top
10 U.S. hotspots with the highest rates of questionable auto claims are in
Florida: Tampa, Miami, Orlando and Hialeah.
The coalition also states that the Florida Office of Insurance
Regulation has warned that the current trend in fraudulent claims is
unsustainable and may lead to an automobile liability insurance availability
"Undercover investigations have revealed that many
participants in staged accidents were part of a larger group, and that the
staged crash was just the first step in the overall scheme," said Florida
Sheriffs Association Executive Director Steve Casey. "PIP fraud used to be
more of an individual crime and now has become an organized crime."