jump to main menu jump to subject menu jump to content jump to footer

Insurance Consumer Advocate

Sha'Ron James

Contact Us
Mailing: 200 East Gaines St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0308

For Consumer Assistance:
Contact the Division of
Consumer Services within the
Department of Financial Services

Online at
Consumer Services
Toll-free in Florida
Out of State
(850) 413-3089
(850) 413-3033

Public Records Requests

Follow the ICA on Twitter

design placeholder only

House backs 'assignment of benefits' changes


Date: April 26, 2017
Source: News Service of Florida


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - With the issue appearing stuck in the Senate, the House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill dealing with a controversial insurance issue known as “assignment of benefits.”

The House voted 91-26 to approve the insurer-backed bill (HB 1421), sponsored by Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa.

A significantly different bill (SB 1218) was approved April 3 by a Senate committee but otherwise has not moved forward.

The annual legislative session is scheduled to end May 5.

The assignment-of-benefits issue involves homeowners who need property repairs signing over benefits to contractors, who then pursue payments from insurance companies. Insurers argue that abuses of the process, particularly related to water-damage claims, are driving up homeowners' insurance premiums. But contractors and plaintiffs' attorneys contend the process helps force insurers to properly pay claims.

The proposal would make a series of changes that, in part, would seek to curb litigation about claims.

Rep. Richard Stark, a Weston Democrat who supported the House bill, said people have improperly taken advantage of assignments of benefits for years and, without legislative action, rates could go up and fewer insurers might remain in the market.

But Rep. Joe Geller, D-Aventura, said changes in the bill could result in more litigation.

“It's going to be tied up for the next two years,” Geller said. “That's not going to keep up with the mission, which is to keep rates low.”