Today is the day Florida’s old Assignment of Benefits (AOB) system ended in a dramatic flourish, and with it, much of the abuse that has left consumers and insurance companies on the hook for unfinished repairs, excessive charges, and a marketplace of double-digit annual premium increases driven largely by fraud.
Governor DeSantis yesterday signed HB 7065, which establishes a series of reforms we’ve outlined in our Bill Watch, the most important of which, is the end of one-way attorney fees. The law is effective July 1. However, this morning, the Governor signed HB 337, which contains a brief clause (lines 1368-1371) which makes the one-way attorney fee section of HB 7065 effective immediately upon the signature of the Governor. So yesterday was the last day unscrupulous vendors and their attorneys could file AOB lawsuits under the old, corrupt system and expect one-way fees. Despite the trial bar encouraging public adjusters and contractors to file their AOB lawsuits as fast as they can to beat the presumed deadline (including this video by the “father of AOB”), their efforts have been thwarted!
As a former Florida Deputy Insurance Commissioner and representing property insurance companies that write 2 million of Florida’s 6 million property insurance policies, I have seen first-hand what happens when bad actors use an AOB to unlawfully inflate claims amounts and delay claims repairs so damages worsen and make repair costs go up. This law protects all Floridians from abusive tactics that have gone on too long. Thank you Governor DeSantis for your leadership!
To be sure, the trial bar and unscrupulous vendors haven’t given up their efforts to find a way to make a quick buck, as we shared in last week’s newsletter (How Florida’s New AOB Law May be Exploited). I’d urge you to invest 22 minutes this holiday weekend on your drive to listen to our latest Florida Insurance Roundup podcast on this subject. But with all of us working together – as we have for the past seven years – we’ll be watchful and vigilant to how these reforms are carried out and any future abuses that arise. Thank you for your ongoing support and please feel free to share this briefing with your colleagues and customers.
Have a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend!