Statement from Edie Ousley, Vice President of Public Affairs for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which spearheads the CPC, on the Florida House’s consideration of House Bill 7015 to reform Assignment of Benefits abuse
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Jan. 10, 2018) – The Florida House is sending a clear message early in the legislative session that Assignment of Benefits (AOB) abuse is hurting consumers and must be addressed immediately. Now is the time for the Senate to follow the House’s lead and do what is right for Florida’s consumers.
The Consumer Protection Coalition (CPC) applauds the House for taking up House Bill 7015 by Rep. Jay Trumbull that would protect consumers from abusive AOB practices that are driving up the cost of insurance and threatening the affordability of home ownership for many Floridians. The House is scheduled to bring the bill to the floor for debate and possible vote on Thursday.
The House’s consideration of the bill at the start of the 2018 session underscores lawmakers’ eagerness to tackle this critically important issue and should serve as a wakeup call to the Senate that ignoring the problem is no longer an option amid growing evidence that AOB scams are causing higher insurance rates that harm consumers.
The CPC commends Rep. Trumbull, House Speaker Richard Corcoran and the entire House leadership for taking swift action to address the problem with legislation that provides commonsense protections for consumers. The bill would allow policyholders to rescind an AOB contract without any penalties and requires cost estimates for work and notices of intent to file a lawsuit. It would also modify how attorney fees are paid in an effort to discourage the filing of frivolous lawsuits against insurers over inflated, unreasonable claims.
While the House passed a similar bill to fight AOB abuse last session, it died in the Senate, which sided with anti-consumer special interests and refused to take up a measure. The CPC encourages the Senate to adopt House Bill 7015, or Senate Bill 62 by Sen. Dorothy Hukill, which also calls for commonsense consumer protections and deserves consideration by lawmakers. We are hopeful that the Senate will join the House quickly in working to stop unscrupulous vendors and their attorneys from taking advantage of consumers to line their own pockets.
The Consumer Protection Coalition is a broad-based group of business leaders, consumer advocates, real estate agents, construction contractors, insurance agents and insurance trade groups pushing for reforms to end Assignment of Benefits (AOB) abuse. Learn more about the Coalition at www.FightFraud.Today, follow the Coalition on Twitter @CPC_FL and “like” our page at FB.com/consumerprotectioncoalition.