Fla. House Ready to Pass Home Insurance Bill, Senate Another Story

Palm Beach Post

Originally published by Palm Beach Post   |   View Story

The Florida House is ready to pass as early as today a bill insurers want to crack down on attorney’s fees they say are driving up consumer costs on certain claims, but it remains unclear if the Senate will act before the clock runs out.

HB 1421 is poised to pass on third reading as early as today. It would set new limits on fees attorneys can recover when they represent contractors who have received “assignment of benefits.” That means consumers have signed over control of insurance payments to fix things like damage from a plumbing leak or replacing a roof.

The bill “will help curb abusive AOB practices that are driving up the cost of insurance and threatening the affordability of home ownership,” said Edie Ousley, spokeswoman for the Consumer Protection Coalition, a group funded by business and insurance interests.

Attorneys say insurers can solve the problem by paying fair claims quickly. They have backed a Senate bill, which passed a committee but has made little progress since, that would license water clean-up contractors but not impose the fee limits insurers say are needed.