Following the 2016 Florida Legislative Session’s failure to pass essential assignment of benefit (AOB) reforms, the insurance industry and Citizens Property Insurance Corp. are working in tandem with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) to find workable administrative measures to help combat this kickback-driven lawsuit-for-profit scheme.
The sad truth is AOB abuse is organized and carried out by only a handful of vendors and lawyers and will ultimately result in much higher rates for South Florida customers.
State-sponsored Citizens Property Insurance Corporation’s rate projections indicate that average premiums in the tri-county could climb from $2,800 to $4,000 in the next five years, even though the area hasn’t experienced a hurricane in the past decade. In Miami-Dade County alone, Citizens projects a preliminary 2017 rate increase of 189.6 percent. (By law, Citizens cannot raise its rates more than 10 percent per year.). The remaining Florida counties are projected to receive a 10 percent decrease in rates.
Legislation originally filed by Florida State Sen. Dorothy Hukill (SB 596) and Rep. Matt Caldwell (HB 1097) would have protected consumers by preventing a handful of vendors and their lawyers from gaining control of homeowners’ insurance policy rights. Unfortunately, these bills died as a result of Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, not permitting SB 596 to be considered.