TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – April 18, 2019 – After years of debate, a Florida Senate committee Wednesday approved a bill that the sponsor says represents an agreement with the House on the controversial insurance practice known as assignment of benefits (AOB).
The Senate Rules Committee approved the bill (SB 122), sponsored by Sen. Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze, after backing an amendment with major changes that line up with the House version.
AOB is a decades-old practice in which policyholders sign over claims to contractors, who then pursue payment directly from insurance companies for work. Legislative fights began largely because of residential water-damage claims, with insurers arguing that AOB has become riddled with fraud and litigation, which has driven up premiums.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys and many home-repair firms contend AOB helps ensure that insurers properly pay claims.
The revamped Senate bill, which is now ready to go to the full Senate for a vote, includes limiting attorney fees in AOB disputes and allowing insurers to offer potentially lower-priced policies that don’t allow homeowners to assign benefits – proposals that mirror a bill (HB 7065) passed last week by the full House.
Source: © 2019 Florida Realtors®