Coalition to Protect Florida’s Drivers Applauds Governor Crist for Adding PIP to Special Session

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Coalition to Protect Florida’s Drivers praised Governor Charlie Crist today for his leadership and thanked him for expanding the call of this week’s special session to include no-fault auto insurance. No-fault expired at midnight today.

Saying that Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance “is very important to the people of Florida” and that $10,000 in PIP coverage provides a minimum safeguard for drivers and their passengers, Governor Crist encouraged lawmakers in both chambers to reach consensus and “ensure the continuation of this important consumer protection.”

“We are grateful that Governor Crist recognizes how important the no-fault system and PIP are for all Floridians in terms of requiring motorists to carry some minimum coverage that protects both people and property,” said Wayne NeSmith, President of the Florida Hospital Association and a coalition leader. “With no-fault having expired Monday, it is crucial that the Legislature move quickly to pass the Senate and House compromise bill.”

Another coalition leader, Tony Carvalho, President of the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, noted that with no-fault expired and the Legislature yet to reenact the compromise bill, the only current required coverage for the state’s drivers is Property Damage (PD) protection.

“PIP is a critical protection of consumers, especially since one in four Floridians under age 65 have no health insurance and, for many, PIP is their only medical coverage if they are hurt in a car crash.”

The Coalition again applauded Senate President Ken Pruitt, House Speaker Marco Rubio and the two lead negotiators in each chamber, Senator Bill Posey and Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff, for their hard work on reaching a compromise bill and for their efforts to reform and extend the no-fault system.

“This is good policy that prevents a surge in uninsured drivers, an increase in time-consuming litigation, and a rise in both auto and health insurance premiums,” said Dan Tarantin, CEO of Direct General Insurance Company, a leading auto insurer and coalition member.

Addressing no-fault in the special session also means that Florida can avoid becoming one of only three states in the nation that do not require drivers to carry any minimum medical protection. Today, only New Hampshire and Wisconsin have no minimum coverage requirements for motorists.

The Coalition to Protect Florida’s Drivers is a group of nearly 40 organizations led by the Florida Hospital Association and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida. It includes Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, auto insurers, emergency care physicians, first responders, safety officials, and other healthcare professionals.

Florida Hospital Association; Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida

CONTACT: Rich Rasmussen, Vice President for Strategic Communications ofFlorida Hospital Association, +1-850-222-9800; or Tony Carvalho, President ofSafety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, +1-850-201-2096, tony@fsthc.com