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Grassroots Support Growing for Assignment of Benefits Reform

Florida Politics

Originally published by Consumer Protection Coalition  |   Read News Release

Floridians dispatch more than 6,100 letters to lawmakers; sign more than 14,600 petitions

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 17, 2019) – As the Senate bill to reform Assignment of Benefits heads to its last legislative committee today, the Consumer Protection Coalition announced grassroots support is growing to stop AOB abuse that is harming consumers and driving costly litigation.

Floridians dispatched more than 6,158 letters to members of the Senate Rules Committee urging their support of Senate Bill 122 by Sen. Doug Broxson. The bill has advanced in two Senate committees and is scheduled for a vote today in Senate Rules, its last stop before going to the full Senate.

“Floridians care about this issue and want to see the Legislature pass meaningful reforms. This past week alone, 6,158 letters were sent by consumers to the Senate Rules Committee members urging passage of SB 122,’’ said Login McFaddin, Regional Manager of State Government Relations for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. “Florida is ground zero for this type of abuse happening to both auto and home owners, and it must be stopped. More victims are stepping forward and sharing their stories where they are entering legal battles without even knowing about it. This impacts everyone as it could add to the rise in insurance costs.”

In addition to the letter-writing grassroots campaign, more than 14,600 people from across Florida have signed a petition asking lawmakers to pass AOB reform.

“Consumers are saying enough is enough. We need AOB reform,’’ said Edie Ousley, vice president of public affairs for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “This problem has festered for too long, and now is the time for lawmakers to take action to stop the abusive practices that are hurting consumers and causing out-of-control litigation. Consumers should not be on the hook for the behavior of a few bad actors who are using Assignment of Benefits to pad their own profits. The Legislature must step in and pass reform.’’

New testimonial videos produced by the CPC underscore the need to fix rampant AOB abuse and litigation, which is impacting both home and auto owners.

In one video, Novena Grills of Orange Park describes how she signed an AOB with a roofing contractor who has since been arrested on charges of insurance fraud. Her insurance company paid $9,000 to repair her roof, but no work has been done.

“If it weren’t for an Assignment of Benefits I could move forward … but because I signed that piece of paper I cannot,’’ she said.

In another video, Paul Huszar, president and CEO of VetCor LLC based in Tampa, talks about how contractors don’t need AOBs to get paid for work covered by insurance.

“(Contractors) testify in the Legislature that they can’t do business without Assignment of Benefits and, frankly, we have found that that’s simply not true,’’ he said. “We’ve grown an award-winning company … and never used the Assignment of Benefits clause in any of our contracts. I encourage the state Legislature finally this year and this session to take action to prevent further abuse of the Assignment of Benefits clause.’’

The CPC applauds Gov. Ron DeSantis, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier and Citizens Property Insurance Corp. President and CEO Barry Gilway for supporting AOB reform this session. The CPC supported last week’s passage of House Bill 7065 by Rep. Bob Rommel and encourages lawmakers to include auto glass in the final legislation.

The CPC also applauds Sen. Broxson and Rep. Rommel for their leadership in bringing forward AOB reform bills to their respective chambers.

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The Consumer Protection Coalition is a broad-based group of professionals advocating for reforms to end Assignment of Benefits (AOB) abuse. Members include the Florida Chamber of Commerce, American Property Casualty Insurance Association, Florida Justice Reform Institute, Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association, Insurance Information Institute, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, Safelite Group Inc., Associated Builders and Contractors, Citizens Property Insurance Corp., Council of Property Claims Professionals, Florida Association of Insurance Agents, Florida Bankers Association, Florida Property and Casualty Association, Florida Realtors, Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association, Florida Retail Federation, Latin American Association of Insurance Agencies, National Insurance Crime Bureau, Professional Insurance Agents of Florida, Rytech and VetCor Services.