Legal Commentary

05/28/2019

HB 7065 Signed by DeSantis


This week, Governor DeSantis signed HB 7065, the new bill bringing assignment of benefit reform to the state. Approved last month, the bill is set to limit attorney fees in AOB lawsuits, protecting consumers and cutting back on the all too common AOB abuse and fraud the industry has been battling for the last six years.

This was a joint effort, which included Governor DeSantis, the state’s CFO, Department of Insurance with a strong support of The Consumer Protection Coalition, 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.

In addition, several AOB victimized consumers and legitimate contractors testified at the Insurance & Banking Committee hearings sharing their AOB abuse stories.

Among other provisions of the new law is the requirement of written estimates for repair work, allowing policyholders 14 days to rescind an AOB without penalty while requiring vendors to provide the insurer and policyholder 10 days’ written notice before filing a lawsuit.

The law will only apply to homeowner claims. Auto glass AOBs were removed from the bill. Many are hopeful the Legislature will extend these reforms next year to the auto glass industry. HB7065 goes into effect on July 1, 2019. “Finally, with the signing of HB 7065, homeowners will be armed with valuable tools to protect themselves against predatory vendors who pressure them to sign over their valuable insurance policy rights. This new law puts homeowners back in control,” said William Stander, executive director of the Florida Property & Casualty Association.

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