Insurance fraud investigators in Florida have been seeing them for years: They look like a regular accident you might see around South Florida every day. It starts with a car getting clipped by an SUV.

But state investigators say many are staged as part of an elaborate insurance fraud scheme.

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Fraud specialists say well-organized criminal rings have set up phony clinics statewide and they’ve tracked how thieves stage accidents..and pay so-called victim hundreds of dollars.

The goal?   

Submitting phony personal injury claims.

Insurance Investigator Jessica Turner says ” With submitting fraudulently insurance claims, obviously that puts an effect to the policy premiums of individuals.  Florida’s being one of the states that pays the most of insurance, mainly due to the fraud that we have in Florida.”

Phony medical claims cost Florida consumers about $1 billion a year.

That’s driven personal injury protection bills on our car insurance up by about 66%.

Most consumers are fed-up with their growing  car insurance bills.

To crack down on the growing fraud, state lawmakers are focusing on reforming personal injury coverage. But they can’t agree what to do.

The state senate wants more detailed crash reports and more oversight over medical clinics and their operators.

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But the house wants even tougher restrictions, including recently approving capping medical payments along with limiting attorney fees and capping class action lawsuits.  

Critics claim reforming Florida’s no fault coverage isn’t about cutting fraud, but guaranteeing insurance industry profits.

North Miami Attorney Kenneth Dorchak adds “What’s new is the attempt by the insurance industry to create a drive toward wide ranging reform that’s really more aimed at,when you really look at it, is really more aimed at increasing insurance company profits and limiting the access of the individual the person to meaningful healthcare for injuries arising out of an automobile accident.”

Several years ago, state lawmakers were so deadlocked over the issue, they needed a special session to consider reforming Florida’s auto  insurance laws. That’s how we ended up with todays’ version of “No fault” with all its’ loopholes and potential for fraud.  

The only thing everyone seems to agree on right now is without some major changes, Insurance fraud will get worse and so too will our car insurance bills.

Jessica Turner warns ” Well if there’s no changes we will likely have additional fraud, and to add more fraud to what we have it really escalates matters. Our insurance bills will be sky high, even higher than they are now.”

Florida is one of only two  states that does *not* require bodily injury coverage.

As a no-fault state, medical bills are paid by *our own* insurance, no matter who’s charged .

Reforming Florida’s automotive coverage continues to pit the insurance industry against doctors and lawyers leaving the rest of us stuck with the bills.

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And the state legislature is set to adjourn the end of the week.