The legislation, also referred to as H7065, originally included auto glass, but after going through several revisions, both the Senate and the House excluded the words windshield and auto glass from the bill. The final version focuses on one-way attorney fees for assignees.
“I thank the Florida Legislature for passing meaningful AOB reform, which has become a racket in recent years. This legislation will protect Florida consumers from predatory insurance practices,” said DeSantis.
Issues with AOB stem from instances of alleged fraudulent claims being made and insurers having to pay for those claims. Typically, vendors advise the insured and assure them that they will handle their claim and submit it to the insurance company on their behalf. In recent years, Florida has seen a spike in the number of fraudulent claims, of which this new law looks to cut down and eliminate as much as possible.
“The bill requires the assignee to give the insurer notice prior to the filing of a lawsuit and make a pre-suit demand. The insurer must respond with a pre-suit settlement offer. To award fees, the court must compare the difference between the demand and the offer with the judgment obtained and award fees based on a formula. The bill allows insurers to make available a property insurance policy that prohibits or restricts the assignment of benefits. If an insurer offers a policy that prohibits or restricts assignments, it must offer a policy with benefits that are assignable,” a portion of the Senate analysis reads.
The law now requires assignees to obey some of the policyholder’s duties under the insurance policy which includes:
- Insureds must cooperate with the claims investigation,
- Sit for examinations under oath by the insurance company, and
- Participate in an appraisal.
The bill has passed and will take effect on July 1, 2019.