(News-Press) -- Today is the first step toward reforming Florida's Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law.
Oct. 1 is the deadline for state automobile insurers to submit a rate filing showing at least a 10 percent decrease in insurance rates. If they can't meet this reduction, then they must explain why they cannot, according to a press release from the Insurance Information Institute.
PIP reforms will largely take effect Jan. 1. According to the press release, these changes will provide the full $10,000 for medical emergencies only, and those needing non-emergency treatment will have a limit of $2,500. The laws will also exclude massage therapy and acupuncture as treatment options.
Tim Shaw, president of Tim Shaw Insurance - Acentria based in Fort Myers, said he thinks it's a little unfair that insurance companies should have to decrease their rates before seeing if PIP reforms will have the desired effect.
On average, he said consumers will only see reduced rates of about $30 a year per car.
"It's not a big change to the consumer or to the agent," he said.
However, Leah Holland, office manager of Clark & Bell Insurance Agency in Fort Myers, said this reduction will likely bring more customers into the agency. She said it's hard to sell automobile insurance because rates are so expensive. Most customers only buy the bare minimum.
"It's (the decrease) a good thing for people because obviously they're saving money," she said.