Insurance Fraud NEWS
Coalition: Florida reforms a victory over abusive claim takeovers
April 24, 2019, Washington, DC
New reforms of widely abused assignments of insurance benefits will rein in contractors and attorneys who preyed on Florida homeowners and insurers for years, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud said today.
“Passage is a great victory that will go far in curbing insurance fraud and abuses that have driven up homeowner premiums and subjected honest homeowners to shoddy repair practices with seeming impunity,” said Dennis Jay, Coalition executive director.
The state Senate today passed urgently needed reforms of so-called Assignment of Benefits. The bill mirrors a House-passed version, and Gov. Ron DeSantis has promised to sign.
“The Coalition applauds the Senate and House for their leadership and determination to bring lasting AOB reforms to Florida consumers. Their bipartisan cooperation will benefit all Floridians — except the shady contractors who preyed on honest homeowners,” Jay says.
The bill will control the costly requirement that insurers must pay all AOB-related legal fees even if the plaintiff contractor loses the lawsuit. Reforms also will better prevent contractors from fraudulently gaining control of insurance benefits and defrauding insurers with bogus repairs behind the homeowner’s back.
Passage took years of effort, despite staunch efforts to derail reforms that insurers, consumers and legislators widely agreed were needed.
The Coalition and IASIU launched an online grassroots letter-writing campaign this spring. Fraud fighters wrote their state legislators in record numbers, urging passage during this legislative session.
Homeowner premiums have risen steadily in many areas of Florida under the weight of rising AOB claims and lawsuit costs. Fraud and abuse both contributed.
“AOB reforms take a significant step toward stanching the runaway costs that contributed to higher premiums and made it harder for Floridians to afford their homes,” Jay said. “A new day is dawning, when homeowners and insurers can reclaim their right to honest repairs at fair prices.”