Governor Vetoes PIP Reform Legislation

In somewhat of a surprise move, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently vetoed legislation that had passed the Florida Legislature that would have reformed the state’s personal injury protection (PIP) system. The legislation would have replaced the entire PIP insurance scheme with a new mandatory automobile insurance requirement that every driver carry a minimum amount of bodily injury coverage in case the driver was involved in an accident in which someone was injured.  After decades of requiring that every Florida motorist carry PIP benefits, the new legislation would have replaced the current no-fault system PIP system completely. The proposed new requirements would mandate that every motorist in Florida carry a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury coverage for accidents in which one person was injured or killed and $50,000 in the event two or more people were killed as a result of the accident. The PIP reform legislation vetoed by the governor was passed after years of the Florida Legislature unsuccessfully attempting to pass legislation that would reform the current PIP system, which failed each year to obtain the necessary votes to clear both houses of the Legislature and send the legislation to the governor’s desk for his signature.  The governor’s veto sends both houses as well as insurance reform advocates back to the drawing board given that this most recent effort to reform Florida’s PIP scheme was unsuccessful.

Why Did DeSantis Veto the PIP Reform Legislation?

In the letter that accompanied his veto, DeSantis wrote the following: “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.”  In short, his position as summarized by many commentators, seems to be that there is nothing to say that the proposed new system would be any better than the current system of mandatory PIP coverage that it was intended by the Legislature to replace.  This was a sentiment that was echoed by many in the insurance industry, who noted that, although the current PIP regime is far from adequate, it is at least a known quantity and, as such, it should not be repealed without greater clarity as to what, if any, effect on insurance costs a proposed new scheme would have.  Indeed, one study performed by Pinnacle Actuarial Resources, Inc. for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation regarding the proposed new requirements found they would increase the cost of motor vehicle insurance for the average Floridian by $202.

Interestingly, this was the first year in which the issue of PIP reform was finally able to cross the finish line and muster enough votes to pass both houses of the Florida Legislature after reform efforts had stalled in the last several sessions of the Legislature.  The governor’s veto leaves the issue unresolved for the time being and it is unclear whether the Legislature will try again to pass legislation during its 2022 legislative session that would reform or attempt to replace the PIP scheme that has been the law in Florida for four decades.  Regardless of what lawmakers decide to do, it would appear they will need to be sensitive to the governor’s concerns if they attempt to repeal and/or change Florida’s mandatory PIP system in any way in the 2022 legislative session.

What Does This Mean for Florida Motorists?

 The short answer to that question is that nothing will change for Florida motorists.  The same system of mandatory PIP insurance coverage required for every Florida motorist that has applied over the last 40 years will continue to apply.  You will still need to carry at least $10,000 in PIP benefits.

 Contact Schwed Adams & McGinley

 At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of collective experience representing the victims of motor vehicle accidents and other personal injury scenarios in Florida.  Our firm and its attorneys have been through major changes in the insurance requirements for Florida motorists throughout the many decades our attorneys have been in practice.  No matter what the required mandatory motor vehicle insurance scheme in the Sunshine State ends up being, whether it is the current PIP scheme that has been in place the last 40 years, or some other system, we will be here to ensure that our clients receive full compensation for their injuries suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence.  If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence in Florida, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation.