Florida House Passes Bill Cracking Down on Assignment of Benefits Consumer Abuses

By: Florida Chamber of Commerce

The Florida House of Representatives today passed a bill cracking down on Assignment of Benefits (AOB) abuse against consumers – a Florida Chamber of Commerce top priority.

House Bill 1421, sponsored by Rep. James “J.W.” Grant, includes consumer protections that would curb abusive AOB practices that are driving up the cost of insurance and threatening the affordability of home ownership for many Floridians.

“The House’s action is a big step toward ending costly AOB abuse and protecting Florida’s homeowners and businesses,’’ said EDIE OUSLEY, Vice President of Public Affairs for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “With less than two weeks left in the legislative session, we urge the Senate to recognize the impact that AOB abuse is having on consumers’ wallets and approve the House bill before another year passes without protections for Florida families.’’

Why It Matters

Florida insurance regulators and Citizens Property Insurance Corp. have provided legislators clear evidence of the growing problem of AOB abuse, its impact in driving up costs for consumers, and the dramatically rising number of AOB lawsuits. Without reforms, homeowners – especially those in the tri-county area of South Florida – can expect to see their homeowners’ insurance premiums increase by thousands of dollars over the next five years.

HB 1421 contains commonsense provisions to protect consumers against unscrupulous repair vendors who, working in cahoots with litigious trial attorneys, pressure homeowners into signing over their insurance policies, and then inflate the cost and scope of repair work and file lawsuits against insurers that refuse to pay. While the legislation does not eliminate one-way attorney fees, which are the single biggest factor driving the explosion of AOB lawsuits, it does provide some restrictions on their use aimed at reducing incentives for third parties to sue insurers over inflated claims.

Here’s How You Can Help

The Florida Chamber and its Consumer Protection Coalition are actively advocating to stop AOB fraud and abuse. Add your name to the nearly 2,000 homeowners that have signed a petition encouraging lawmakers to pass meaningful consumer protections.