A pair of insurance reform bills aimed at changing Florida’s assignment of benefits (AOB) law have successfully made their way through subcommittee reviews of the Senate and House on their way to the chamber floors. Should the bills make it through the various hurdles, it will be the first time in more than five years that an AOB bill has passed the committee for a full vote before the Senate.
One of the two bills has received extra discussion during hearings which have involved insurance carriers, regulators and homeowners that oppose AOB agreements against home restoration contractors, attorneys, and homeowners that support AOB.
Currently, Florida permits homeowners to sign their insurance benefits over to contractors after a loss for purposes of pursuing payment from insurers for work. AOB agreements hasten repairs by guaranteeing payment for work that is performed “up front”. The part of Florida’s AOB statute that has generated controversy is the “one-way” attorney fee provision, which requires insurers to pay legal costs even if they are victorious in court. Critics say the one-way fee clause serves an incentive for attorneys to file AOB lawsuits.
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