March 11, 2016
The Legislature didn’t pass any assignment of benefits legislation in the 2016 Session, and the Florida Property and Casualty Association said property owners can thank Miami Republican Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla when their insurance premiums go up.
The group described assignment of benefits, whereby policyholders can sign over their rights to a third party to get home repairs done, as a “kickback-driven lawsuit-for-profit scheme” that threatens to raise insurance rates for years.
FPCA was pushing bills by Sen. Dorothy Hukill and Rep. Matt Caldwell, both Republicans, that would sharply curtail AOB lawsuits.
“Sadly, these bills died as a result of Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, not allowing SB 595 to be considered,” the email reads.
It goes on to say Diaz de la Portilla’s preferred AOB bill, SB 1248, would have “cemented AOB abuse into place, preventing any further attempts to stop this abusive practice.”
The association said two fifths of AOB cases involving restoration vendors in 2015 were filed by five law firms, and just 31 law firms were responsible for 85 percent of all such cases.
“Now, as a result, even without a hurricane making landfall, property insurance rates are set to skyrocket for all Floridians while a small group of greedy vendors and their lawyers get rich,” the group said. “Florida deserves better.”