Auto AOB among bills of interest
Legislative committees are back in session this week and the Florida Senate will convene in special session beginning today to consider the reinstatement or removal of Scott Israel as Broward County Sheriff. The Governor suspended Sheriff Israel in January over the Parkland School Shooting, but a Special Master has recommended his reinstatement, citing lack of sufficient grounds.
There are two more “committee weeks” in November and one in December, prior to the start of the 2020 Legislative Session on January 14. The only bill the legislature has to pass by law each year is the state budget. So far, 658 other bills have been filed. Here’s a few of the ones we’re keeping an eye on for you – but the list will grow!
Assignment of Benefits (AOB) – This is the effort to reform growing AOB abuse in automobile windshield repair and replacements. It was part of last session’s broader AOB reform initially, but was dropped during negotiations on final passage of HB 7065 which became law in May.
HB 169 by Representative Richard Stark (D-Weston), an insurance broker, and companion bill SB 312 by Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando), a former insurance agent, is meant to address rising AOB auto abuse. In 2006, approximately 400 auto glass AOB lawsuits were filed against auto insurers. In 2016, that number rose to nearly 20,000, according to the Department of Financial Services.
Insurance Claims Data – The bill addresses disclosure of, and defines a “loss run statement” as a report relating to risks maintained by an insurer which contains the history of claims occurring during a policy term. SB 292 by Senator Doug Broxson (R-Pensacola), who chairs the Banking and Insurance Committee, would require surplus lines and authorized insurers to provide loss run statements to insureds within a specified timeframe after receiving a written request and prohibit them from charging a fee. It has no companion bill so far in the House.
Motor Vehicle Insurance (PIP) – This is a perennial effort to do away with Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage under Florida’s No-Fault insurance law and replace it with bodily injury (BI) liability coverage. Similar bills failed last session. Senator Tom Lee (R-Brandon) is back with SB 378 which currently has no House companion bill.
(See LMA Backgrounder: Personal Injury Protection for more details on the history of PIP reform and the failed 2018 bills, data, and past committee and stakeholder discussions.)
Omnibus Bill – HB 359 by Rep. David Santiago (R-Deltona) was released last week and is the 2020 Insurance Omnibus bill. The bill has a variety of issues including an audit of the Cat Fund’s premium formula, specifying proper notice of a lawsuit including requiring the notice be mailed to the insurer’s address on file with DFS’ service of process unit, amending the timeframes for filing claims in current law, reinforcing the trade secret laws, amending the condo unit owner loss assessment law, etc. Omnibus bills are aimed to be consensus bills with the aim to provide greater consumer protection including ways to drive down rate increases. Senator Jeff Brandes (R-Pinellas) is expected to file the senate companion in the coming days.
LMA Newsletter of 10-21-19