The Florida Senate passed an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) bill on Wednesday which advocates say will protect insurance consumers in the Sunshine State.
The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Doug Broxson, R-Pensacola. An AOB is an agreement that, once signed, which transfers the insurance claims rights or benefits of the policy to a third party. An AOB gives the third party the authority to file a claim, make repair decisions and collect insurance payments without the involvement of the homeowner. The AOB is a contract between an individual and a third party – typically a contractor, roofer or water mitigation company – giving them the right to deal directly with policyholders and receive payment for an individual’s claim. Supporters of the bill say it will reform the state’s one-way attorney fee statute.
The bill cleared the Senate on a 25-14 vote on Wednesday and it is now headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis who said he will sign it. The House passed it 96 to 20 earlier in the month.
State Rep. Bob Rommel, R-Naples, sponsored the bill in the House and weighed in on the vote on Wednesday.
“Today’s passage of SB 122 in the Florida Senate is the result of a lot of hard work and cooperation, and I’m grateful to my colleagues in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle for making this happen for the consumers of our great state. These are commonsense reforms that will go a long way toward bringing skyrocketing insurance costs down and restoring insurance customers’ faith in the system. This is good for policyholders and it’s good for our economy. I’m proud to have been a part of its passage, and I look forward to Governor DeSantis’s signature making these reforms a reality,” Rommel said.
For his part, DeSantis said on Wednesday that he would sign the bill.
“The exponential growth in AOB abuse has contributed to mounting insurance costs for Floridians for far too long,” said DeSantis. “In recent years, there have been calls for reform and today, the Legislature took action. I thank them for their efforts in getting this done and I look forward to signing this meaningful legislation into law.”
“Over the last several years, AOB abuse and fraud has grown drastically across Florida, causing insurance costs to rise and opening the door to frivolous litigation. In 2008, there were approximately 90 property AOB lawsuits filed statewide. By 2018, the number of lawsuits had increased by more than 19,000 percent. With this reform, Florida is taking a strong step to fight insurance fraud and its impact on rising insurance costs for Floridians,” the governor’s office noted.