Court bans part of PIP law

TALLAHASSEE -- A Tallahassee judge has temporarily banned part of a massive auto insurance overhaul passed by the Legislature in an attempt to drive down personal injury protection rates.

Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis issued the ban on a part of the law that banned any payments to massage therapists, acupuncturists or chiropractors as well as the requirement that an emergency medical condition exist for the full $10,000 PIP coverage.

The Office of Insurance Regulation said it intends to file an appeal by the end of the week.

Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, the Senate architect of the plan, said that the Senate still needed to review the opinion, but noted that it may be time to rid the state of the entire no-fault auto insurance policy.

Senate Banking and Insurance Chairman David Simmons floated that idea a few months ago, but it has not been discussed since. Negron said this ruling may bring back that debate.

Though it is already two and half weeks into the legislative session and no bill has been filed, Negron said that he felt it was "early" and that they had time to address the issue.