|Date:||April 26, 2017|
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 26, 2017) – The R Street Institute applauds today’s passage by the Florida House of Representatives of H.B. 1421, legislation designed to stem the tide of assignment-of-benefits abuse that has contributed to spiking insurance premiums across the Sunshine State.
Sponsored by Reps. James “J.W.” Grant, R-Tampa, and Rene Plasencia, R-Titusville, the measure would address Florida’s “one-way attorney fees” system for trial lawyers who represent third-party vendors through an assignment of benefits. In recent years, water-loss claims have ballooned across the state, as unscrupulous contractors and trial attorneys take control of claims, litigating cases for substantial pay-outs. These lawsuits come at the expense of homeowners, who face needlessly rising insurance costs at a time when rates otherwise would be dropping, according to Christian R. Cámara, R Street’s Southeast region director.
“This is a carefully crafted, commonsense and measured bill that both protects consumers and removes incentives for the unnecessary litigation that is driving rate increases across the state,” Cámara said. “Virtually everyone familiar with this issue, including the insurance industry, consumer groups, realtors, the state’s insurance consumer advocate, business groups, the Office of Insurance Regulation and even the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial board, believe the state’s current attorney fee provisions are largely to blame for this crisis.”
“Time is running out for the Senate to take up this very important issue. Should they fail to act, consumers will have someone to blame for the rate increases to come,” Cámara said.
R Street is anonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization whose mission is to promote free markets and limited, effective government. It has headquarters in Washington, D.C. and five regional offices across the country. Its website is www.rstreet.org.