Property Insurance Rates Likely to Rise
By: Carolyn Johnson
Two of Florida’s largest property insurers are seeking rate increases to help offset the ever-increasing cost of fraud and abuse associated with Assignment of Benefits (AOB). Heritage Property & Casualty, Florida’s fourth largest insurer, is seeking to increase rates by nearly 15 percent, while Citizens Property Insurance, the state’s largest insurer, is also significantly increasing rates for their policyholders.
AOB is threatening Florida’s families and businesses. That’s because some unscrupulous home repair vendors and trial attorneys are taking advantage of businesses and homeowners by forcing them to “assign their benefits” before making any repairs. When the homeowner loses control of their homeowner’s insurance policy, they generally experience inflated repair costs, and costly lawsuits are filed against the insurer who questions the bill.
Inflated claims and increased legal costs are driving up the cost of homeowners insurance across Florida.
Fighting AOB, and establishing property insurance reforms, continues to be a top priority for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. At the heart of this debate – which must be settled legislatively – is the one-way attorney fee provision which allows contractors and repair vendors to sue the insurer under the homeowner’s insurance policy and collect attorney fees, regardless of the outcome.