The Florida Legislature ended its 2017 session this week three days late – and without passing most of the major insurance-related bills. These include Assignment of Benefits reform, Workers’ Compensation reform as mandated by the state Supreme Court, and No-Fault Personal Injury Protection automobile insurance reform. What went wrong? Host Lisa Miller, a former Florida deputy insurance commissioner, takes the guest microphone in this program to explain what happened, share the backstory on some of the negotiations, and offer her insight on what’s needed to make these policy reforms a reality in next year’s legislative session.
THE FLORIDA INSURANCE ROUNDUP PODCAST
The Florida Insurance Roundup from Lisa Miller & Associates, is your program on the people, issues, and regulations shaping Florida’s Insurance Market. It’s the only podcast devoted exclusively to Florida insurance issues. Lisa, a former deputy insurance commissioner, brings you the latest developments in Property & Casualty, Healthcare, Workers’ Compensation, and Surplus Lines insurance from around the Sunshine State. There is a Listener Call-In Line for your recorded questions and comments to air in future episodes at 850-388-8002 or you may send email to LisaMiller@LisaMillerAssociates.com
The Florida Legislature is once again trying to decide what to do with the state’s 45 year-old No-Fault Automobile Insurance coverage law – more specifically, how to handle the persistent fraud that keeps increasing and with it, automobile insurance rates. But one component that’s rarely talked about is the Bad Faith doctrine – and the third-party vendors some say who are manipulating it to win bigger legal settlements from insurance companies.
David Bronstein and J.D. Underwood – two noted South Florida insurance attorneys on opposite sides of the issue – argue the merits of Bad Faith as it relates to consumer rights and insurance company profits. They reveal in this program how just the threat of a Bad Faith case and its related costs are driving up premiums for all Florida insurance consumers. They share their insider perspective on how those looking to make a bigger buck rather than a reasonable claims settlement are hurting the availability and affordability of automobile, as well as homeowners insurance in Florida.
They come to your house peddling offers of a free roof, courtesy of your insurance company. Regardless of whether you’ve suffered serious enough storm damage to warrant a total roof replacement, these scam artists have you sign an “AOB”– an Assignment of Benefits – that takes away your rights and benefits of insurance claims proceeds and puts it into their pockets. That’s what happened to Kellie Clark, a ninth-grade math teacher in Pinellas County, Florida. Ms. Clark shares her story of being misled into signing an AOB and then becoming the target of bullying and harassment – including threats of foreclosure action – when she refused to sign over the insurance check. It’s a growing problem in Florida that has caused double-digit rate increases and whose solution is still eluding the Florida Legislature.
Although Florida accounts for nearly 40% of the National Flood Insurance Program policies, it remains a huge donor state to this federal monopoly, with property owners here paying $4 in premiums for every $1 in claims received. Maria Wells, President of Florida Realtors, has been a driving force behind efforts to encourage a private flood market in the Sunshine State. Ms. Wells shares her advocacy efforts in this podcast and how reauthorization of NFIP this year in Congress is being linked to further incentives to create a robust private market alternative that will benefit property owners and taxpayers alike.