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Insurance trade group sets 2012 legislative priorities
By Insure.com staff

The property insurance industry will push for new state laws this year to reform no-fault car insurance systems, improve insurance markets in hurricane-prone coastal regions and maintain freedom for car insurance companies to manage auto repair claims.

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), whose membership includes 1,000 insurance companies, announced the intentions as part of its 2012 legislative agenda.

To combat car insurance fraud, the trade group will focus on fixing no-fault systems in Florida, Michigan, New Jersey and New York, where a variety of reforms have been proposed.

"Soaring medical bills, high attorney fees and rampant fraud and abuse are forcing drivers in these states to pay significantly more for auto insurance than they should," Paul Blume, PCI's senior vice president of state government relations, said in a press statement. "Over the last several years fraud rings and abuses of the system have cost consumers over $1.6 billion in New York and Florida alone. This amounts to a 'fraud tax' on hardworking citizens, and the cost trends in these states are unsustainable."

Regarding auto repair insurance claims, PCI said it will oppose state legislative efforts that would restrict the ability of insurance companies to recommend or suggest individual repair facilities to consumers or manage the claim repair process and control costs.

In coastal areas, PCI will call on elected officials to examine weaknesses in building codes and address shortcomings in insurance markets.

"We will also support legislative efforts in targeted states to combat construction and roofing contractor fraud and abuse that can run rampant in the aftermath of a major weather event as well as advance building code and loss mitigation reforms," Blume said in a press release.

PCI said it would also work with other groups to address repackaging of drugs by physicians and overprescribing of narcotics, which drive up pharmaceutical costs in state workers' compensation systems.

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