Regarding “Time running out to end PIP,” state legislators, drivers and reporters want to know when the savings are coming from the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) reform law enacted in 2012. So do we.
PIP is a money-loser for car owners and insurance companies. According to a recent Florida Office of Insurance Regulation study, insurers pay an average of $1.15 in losses and expenses for every dollar collected. The courts aren’t helping. An amendment to the 2008 No-Fault Act permitted insurers to limit reimbursement for PIP medical expenses to twice what Medicare Part B pays. However, providers continue to charge PIP insurers as much as six times the rate and persuade the courts to OK the bills.
Most of the 2012 amendments went into effect Jan. 1. They apply to new and renewed policies, not existing ones, so it will take all year to affect every driver. For claims filed under the new rules, it remains to be seen whether the courts will allow insurers to use the new amendments. The Legislature sought to limit plaintiff attorney’s fees, but certain county court judges have circumvented that by increasing hourly rates. Now, most PIP lawyers collect $400 to $500 per hour.
We know that nobody sheds a tear when an insurance company is forced to pay out more money. But while some judges may believe they are taking money from a deep-pocket insurance company to help out the little guy, they are unwittingly destroying the PIP system by allowing PIP clinics and attorneys to gouge PIP insurers. Unless something is done to fix the courts, PIP will continue to serve as a retirement fund for fly-by-night clinics and the lowest level of plaintiff attorneys.
In the meantime, we’ll try to conduct business according to the new PIP law. We don’t want to pay more for insurance, and we don’t want our customers to, either. The savings will come if the law is enforced the way it was written.
RICHARD PARRILLO SR.
Editor’s note: Richard Parrillo Sr., is chairman and CEO of United Automobile Insurance Co.
As I read the article concerning fraudulent tax returns and ID theft (“Refund stolen 3 years in a row,”) I noticed that the excuse presented by the IRS for not being able to curtail such activity was the overwhelming workload.
Perhaps that workload is the reason the IRS has been unable to collect the $3.5 billion owed in back taxes by federal employees or pursue U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., for failing to pay income tax, though the House of Representatives had sufficient evidence to censure him for ethics violations in December 2010.
Not only does our tax code need an overhaul, it appears that the IRS needs some some serious restructuring and a realignment of its priorities.
West Palm Beach
meters at beach
After reading several stories about the difficulty of using the parking meters at the Lake Worth beach, I would like to add a few observations:
If you have even a slight cataract problem, liquid crystal displays on a gray background are impossible to read in bright sunlight. If you need to use a smart phone because of this and don’t have one, it will cost you an additional $50 to $100 per month for the privilege of using a beach whose facilities were largely paid for by tax dollars.
If we really want to simplify parking at the beach, take the meters out. Proximity to this lovely beach benefits all who live in the area and covering the costs with tax money would only amount to a few dollars per year per taxpayer
This humble opinion comes from a person who has considered this to be “my beach” since 1953. My mother was once a waitress at the restaurant in the old casino building.
VINCENT A. DILLMANN
Trust in paper
It seems that columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr. is the last well-educated person besides New York Times columnist Paul Krugman who hasn’t learned the fallacy of Keynesian economics: that governments can spend more than they have without consequences.
As people grew to trust paper money, leaders realized that they could capitalize on that trust by printing extra paper while still receiving full value for it. As more and more new “fiat” paper was circulated, business and labor, with no knowledge of “inflation,” noticed more demand and reasoned that they could raise their prices and wages. Later on, the better educated and business classes came to realize the relationship between the activities of central banks and inflation and were able to profit from it.
We’re now, hopefully, at the end of the longest post-Depression bust in U.S. history and, except for the speculators, anyone who still has money has it in government-insured deposits. Nobody trusts paper money any more. Except, it seems, Mr. Dionne, who still believes that we can afford to be, and should continue to be, all things to all people.
JOEL B. CHANNING
Palm Beach Gardens
Massive GL payment
huge county mistake
Regarding “GL Homes will give $2.8 million to county,” I’d like to enlighten the Palm Beach County commissioners, with the exception of Paulette Burdick and Jess Santamaria, to the colossal mistake they made, by putting some perspective on the size and scope of the land development in play.
Picture driving south on U.S. 1 from Okeechobee Boulevard to 10th Avenue. Drive West to Jog Road, and then back north to Okeechobee. Picture not a single park, library, city hall, fire station or police station in that area. The land in the GL Homes deal is 20,500 acres. So the commissioners thought it OK to develop a property larger than Boca Raton and have no land available for public services for the population that the developer hopes to lure into that box.
The $2.8 million will pay to rent a storefront for 10 years. So does the sheriff’s substation get closed when all these homes are built and the population doubles? No. With no public land, the taxpayers will have to purchase it. After the developer leaves, the public will have to ensure that those future neighbors have the services that they will demand.
JAMES W. DOWNEY
deal a joke
Regarding the article “Retailers to settle ‘faux’ fur charges,” Frank Cerabino should have a field day with that one.
It relates to the fact that the Federal Trade Commission has gotten three retailers to settle charges that certain products containing real fur were being passed off as faux. Under the proposed settlement, these retailers would be prohibited from violating the law for 20 years. Something real being passed off as fake? There’s an absurdity there somewhere. And then they will be allowed to violate the law 20 years from now? Give me a break.
Lesson in symbols
good reminder for all
Obviously, the hysteria created by the exercise from a workbook used by instructor Deandre Poole at Florida Atlantic University was due to the lack of education and understanding of the power of symbols and how man reacts to those that are near and dear to him, but not necessarily to others.
Student Ryan Rotela has a lot to learn, and reacted emotionally, as was expected by those not in tune with the powerful, emotional prejudices we all carry. I hope the letter-writer who wants to return to American values takes the time to read more about the power of symbols as found in books by Carl Jung and others. We are all prejudiced, but it is just sometimes so much more difficult to admit our own because of our lack of education and understanding.
Charter schools siphon
funds from public schools
If Christopher Norwood, the consultant for Excel Leadership Academy is correct that local school boards are “responsible for providing, operating, controlling and supervising all free public schools within its boundaries,” why do we need charter schools? They only add another layer of bureaucracy, a diversion of education focus and another band of thieves stealing from taxpayers for “the children.”
Editor’s note: Karen Zaremba is a teacher at Palm Beach Central High School.