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CPC says Restoration Association of Florida is a front group for trial lawyers and doesn’t represent Florida’s contractors

Florida Politics

Originally published by Consumer Protection Coalition  |   Read News Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 9, 2019) – The Consumer Protection Coalition issued the following statement regarding the Restoration Association of Florida’s press conference today at the Capitol.

“The Restoration Association of Florida is nothing but a front for trial lawyers and remediation vendors who support the status quo, which is hurting Florida’s consumers and sparking out-of-control litigation,’’ said Edie Ousley, vice president of public affairs for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which spearheads the Consumer Protection Coalition. “RAF does not speak for the state’s contractors and, in fact, is driven by some of the very same attorneys who have filed thousands of AOB lawsuits, often without the policyholders’ knowledge or consent. We urge lawmakers to see through these schemes and support legislation to stop the abusive practices that are benefiting a cottage industry of bad actors at the expense of Florida’s home and auto owners.’’

Some of the state’s largest contracting associations, including Associated Builders and Contractors, the Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association, and the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association, support House Bill 7065 by Rep. Bob Rommel as a “fair and measured way to fix some of the very real problems” with AOB. Specifically, the groups support provisions that would allow consumers to cancel an AOB without penalties and would require contractors to submit a detailed written estimate of the work to be performed.

“Contractors across the state support AOB reform to stop unscrupulous vendors who use heavy-handed tactics to pressure consumers into signing over the rights of their insurance policies, then inflate the cost and scope of work to pad their profits,’’ said Cam Fentriss, legislative counsel for the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association. “RAF’s claims about representing contractors and consumers are disingenuous and extremely frustrating to hardworking contractors trying to make an honest living and serve their customers.’’

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 urges lawmakers to support HB 7065, which is scheduled for a full House debate on Wednesday, and to reject a last-minute attempt to remove auto glass reform from the bill. It also supports Senate Bill 122 by Sen. Doug Broxson, which is up next in the Rules Committee, its third and last committee stop.

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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.