The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF) today applauded the Florida House for passing HB 7015, filed by Representative Jay Trumbull (R-Panama City). The bill addresses increasing costs in the property insurance market created by the abuse of Florida’s “assignment of benefits” (AOB) law.
“For six years, PIFF has urged the Legislature to protect homeowners from AOB abuse and its direct impact on the pocketbooks of hard-working families, seniors and others on fixed incomes,” said PIFF president Michael Carlson. “All the evidence indicates that the driving force behind increased homeowner rates, especially in southeast Florida, is the abuse of the one-way attorney fee statute, which incentivizes inflated claims and unnecessary litigation. Changes to this law should immediately change the behavior of self-interested vendors and trial attorneys, creating a savings for Florida consumers.”
HB 7015 includes a change in how attorney fees are awarded in cases involving an AOB that is designed to remove the incentive for bad behavior by creating a sliding scale for the award of such fees. It also includes many consumer protections, such as the requirement of a written estimate, the elimination of onerous cancellation and other fees, and protection from the mechanics lien law in cases where there is an AOB.
“Most importantly, if allowed to operate without obstruction from Florida’s trial bar, this bill will protect consumers and restore fairness to the law in a way that should reduce costs and take the pressure off of rates,” Carlson added. “We think it is high time the Florida House and Senate embrace these ideas and pass a bill that will directly help their constituents.”
PIFF is a member of the Consumer Protection Coalition, which is a grassroots organization whose goal is to educate policymakers on the problem of AOB abuse and to find sensible, pro-consumer solutions that will reduce costs. Learn more about the AOB problem and the Coalition at www.fightfraud.today.