This past spring Florida lawmakers made changes to the state’s complicated, and some say antiquated, laws regarding personal injury protection insurance. What has not been debated is the fact the state’s previous laws were causing insurance rates to continuously climb. State legislators were convinced they needed to do something, but what was less clear was what would work best.

After exhaustive research the legislators came to the conclusion they needed to do something and approved a series of changes which they thought would bring down rates. Although Florida insurance providers initial applauded the changes, saying they would release some pressure from the system, now they are claiming that the changes will instead cause rates to further increase.

“While the 2012 PIP legislation delivered the potential to address the fraud and abuse in the PIP system, policymakers, regulators and Florida drivers need to understand that the new PIP law must have adequate time to be implemented and take effect so the new PIP law can achieve its potential,” said Donovan Brown, a lobbyist for Property and Casualty Insurers Association of America.

Specifically lawmakers put a 14-day limit for accident victims to seek treatment; limited payouts for non-emergency medical services to $2,500 (down from $10,000); And banned massage therapy and acunpuncture, which some insurance groups identified as services that had been abused by many. Part of the changes went into effect this past July and the rest are scheduled to take effect in January of next year.

Regardless of what anyone is saying right now, and what sort of results are predicted by bean counters, it will take at least a few years for anyone to know exactly what impact these changes will have on PIP rates in the state. If the changes prevent fraud and reduce unneeded claims, then it seems likely rates will drop. However, there is no guarantee insurance companies won’t find some other way to explain “higher than expected” rates, so savvy drivers should be prepared to keeping shopping around for the best deal.