Urge Lawmakers to Help Improve Florida’s Insurance and Legal Climates

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear two bills – one that would improve Florida’s insurance climate and one that would make Florida’s legal climate even worse than it already is. Please email these key legislators on the Senate Judiciary Committee and urge them to support SB 1064 and oppose SB 794.

SB 1064 sponsored by Sen. Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange), allows insurance companies to write policies that prohibit the post-loss assignment of benefits or rights other than for purposes of payment. This protects the homeowner by allowing them to maintain the rights of their policy but allows the contractor or subcontractor to be directly paid by the insurer.

SB 1064 is Important to Florida’s Business Community Because the Bill:

  • Protects insurers against inflated claims by insuring the homeowner maintains control of the repair and mitigation process
  • Balances the rights of the homeowner and the insurer when a loss occurs
  • Clarifies that insurers can prohibit the post-loss assignment of benefits as a part of an insurance policy

SB 794 (Prejudgment Interest) allows interest to be charged on damages from the date the injury or tort occurred, not from the date the legal decision was made. Delays in the legal system, which might not be due to the defendant, will only further drive up the cost of personal injury lawsuits. The result is that more companies will be forced to settle to avoid increased legal costs as a result of additional interest in a drawn out legal system.

Please take a moment now to contact these key legislators and urge them to VOTE YES ON SB 1064 and NO ON SB 794 during Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee meeting.

 

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Share your opinion with key Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Brandes’ Florida Chamber-Backed Bill Would Help Improve Florida’s Legal Climate

This week, Florida Senators will take up a bill that would help reform Florida’s bottom-10 legal climate, which costs Florida’s families nearly $3,400 each year in hidden lawsuit taxes. However, Florida Senators will also hear a bill that could make Florida’s legal climate even worse.

There are two ways for you to get involved:

SUPPORT Senator Jeff Brandes’ bill to fix Florida’s costly legal climate.

SB 1088 sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R- St. Petersburg) helps reform Florida’s broken legal system by providing a certain time limit for an insurer to assess and remedy a claim.

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Send an email to key Senators voting on SB 1088. Don’t wait, as lawmakers will vote on the bill at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

OPPOSE SB 794, which would further damage Florida’s legal climate.

SB 794 allows interest to be charged on damages from the date the injury or tort occurred, not from the date the legal decision was made. Delays in the legal system, which might not be due to the defendant, will only further drive up the cost of personal injury lawsuits. The result is that more companies will be forced to settle to avoid increased legal costs as a result of additional interest in a drawn out legal system.

Please take a moment now to contact these key legislators.

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Send an email to key Senators voting on SB 794. Don’t wait, as lawmakers will vote on the bill at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

Florida Chamber-Backed Bills Save Floridians Money and Improve Florida’s Insurance and Legal Climates

Thanks to the outreach of Florida Chamber members and volunteers, several lawsuit abuse reform bills have passed their committees in the Florida House and Senate. Be sure to send these legislators a thank you note by clicking the appropriate links below. The following is an update on these bills:

Property Insurance Reform – Assignment of Benefits

HB 669 sponsored by Rep. John Tobia (R-Melbourne) and SB 1064 sponsored by Sen. Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange), allows insurance companies to write policies that prohibit the post-loss assignment of benefits or rights other than for purposes of payment. This protects the homeowner by allowing them to maintain the rights of their policy but allows the contractor or subcontractor to be directly paid by the insurer.

This legislation is important to Florida’s business community because the bill:

  • Protects insurers against inflated claims by allowing the homeowner to maintain control of the repair and mitigation process
  • Balances the rights of the homeowner and the insurer when a loss occurs
  • Clarifies that insurers can prohibit the post-loss assignment of benefits as a part of an insurance policy
What’s Next:
  • HB 669- Has one more hearing at the Regulatory Affairs Committee, before being heard on the House Floor
  • SB 1064- Has two more hearings, with the Senate Judiciary Committee up next
Learn More:

Read an article by Rep. David Santiago on how assignment of benefits (AOB) forms are being abused. Send these legislators a thank you note for their hard work on these bills by clicking here.

Lawsuit Abuse Reform – Bad Faith/Fair Settlement

HB 1197 sponsored by Rep. Mike Hill (R-Pensacola) and SB 1088 sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R- St. Petersburg),specifies that the claimant, insured, or third party representing the claimant or insured must provide a written notice as a precedent to bringing a third-party bad faith claim. This will help improve Florida’s costly bottom 10 legal climate.

This legislation is important to Florida’s business community because the bill:

  • Allows insurers to act in good faith prior to a bad faith lawsuit being brought forward
  • Decreases frivolous litigation by trial lawyers
  • Improves Florida’s legal environment under which businesses operate
What’s Next:
  • HB 1197- Has two more hearings, with the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee up next
  • SB 1088- Has three more hearings, with the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee up next
Learn More:

Visit our Legal Reform Page and learn where we stand on this issue. Also, send these legislators a thank you note for their hard work on these bills by clicking here.

Lawsuit Abuse Reform – Accuracy in Damages

HB 1199 sponsored by Rep. Larry Metz (R-Groveland) protects businesses from increased costs by ensuring accuracy in the damages paid in personal injury actions. This reduces “phantom damages” or inflated costs in these personal injury cases by allowing the jury to have information on the actual cost of medical care.

This legislation is important to Florida’s business community because the bill:

  • Ensures payments are made for actual and necessary medical expenses
  • Decreases frivolous litigation by trial lawyers who inflate medical damages to increase costs on businesses so they can receive a higher fee
What’s Next:

•HB 1199- Has one more hearing remaining at the House Judiciary Committee, before being heard on the House Floor

Learn More:

Visit our Legal Reform Page and learn where we stand on this issue. Also, send these legislators a thank you note for their hard work on these bills by clicking here.

Prejudgment Interest

SB 794 would allow interest to be charged on damages from the date the injury or tort occurred, not from the date the legal decision was made. More companies will be forced to settle to avoid increased legal costs as a result of additional interest in a drawn out legal system.

This legislation is bad for Florida’s business because the bill:

  • Further deteriorates Florida’s legal climate and image as a “gotcha” state
  • Increases the cost of personal injury lawsuits, which is already a significant cost to Florida’s employers, by charging interest before a legal decision has been rendered
  • Forces more companies to settle, despite the merit of the claim, to avoid paying interest for ongoing litigation

What’s Next:

  • SB 794- Has three more hearings, with the next hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee
Learn More:

Due to the high response rate from Florida Chamber members and volunteers, this bill has been postponed in the Senate for the third consecutive week.

Oppose SB 794 Today and Stop Personal Injury Trial Lawyers From Making Florida a More Expensive Place to Live

Did you know that Florida ranks 41 out of 50 states in legal climate? Job creators look at many factors when deciding to move or expand to Florida, and a bottom-10 legal climate only deters economic growth. We should be working to improve our legal climate, however, TODAY the Florida Senate might take a step in the opposite direction.
This afternoon at 4 p.m., the Florida Senate will take up SB 794, related to prejudgment interest. SB 794 allows interest to be charged on damages from the date the injury or tort occurred, not from the date the legal decision was made. Delays in the legal system, which might not be due to the defendant, will only further drive up the cost of personal injury lawsuits. The result is that more companies will be forced to settle to avoid increased legal costs as a result of additional interest in a drawn out legal system. Please take a moment now to contact these key legislators.

 

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This legislation is bad for Florida’s business because the bill:

  • Further deteriorates Florida’s legal climate and image as a “gotcha” state
  • Increases the cost of personal injury lawsuits, which is already a significant cost to Florida’s employers, by charging interest before a legal decision has been rendered
  • Forces more companies to settle, despite the merit of the claim, to avoid paying interest for ongoing litigation

Take Action Now

Send an email to five key Senators voting on SB 794. Don’t wait, as lawmakers will vote on the bill at 4 p.m. today.