Florida Chamber backs legislation to reform assignment of benefits system, protect consumers

By Carrie Bradon | Mar 12, 2019

TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida Chamber of Commerce believes new legislation now pending in Tallahassee would improve Florida residents' lives by reforming the legal process known as assignment of benefits, adding new measures to protect residents from those who abused the AOB process before.

According to Florida Politics, bringing reform to assignment of benefits (AOB) is one of the main obstacles standing between residents and lower costs of living. 

AOB has historically allowed policyholders to give insurance benefits to a contractor, attorney or other individuals offering a service, which speeds up the timeline for the service being delivered. The party that has been gifted those benefits then goes to the insurers in court to collect their payout.

Unfortunately, AOB cases have risen dramatically in past years and the Florida Chamber believes that terminating these lawsuits would cut homeowners' insurance premiums, decreasing the cost of living for Florida residents.

Edie Ousley   Courtesy of Florida Chamber

Edie Ousley, Florida Chamber vice president of public affairs, is a proponent of legislation known as SB 122, which would add protections for consumers from those who have previously abused the AOB system.

“SB 122 will go a long ways to ensuring that consumers are protected from shady vendors and trial lawyers that have created an AOB abuse niche industry to line their pockets,” Ousley told the Florida Record.

SB 122 has been sponsored by Sen. Doug Broxson (R-Pensacola) and, if approved would take effect July 1. 

To Ousley, the connection is clear: Improve legal situations and help Florida families get a break on the costs they are paying to fund a broken system.

“Florida's bottom-five legal climate translates to a $4,442 tax on Florida families,” Ousley said. “To lower the cost of doing business, the Florida Chamber of Commerce believes lawmakers must fix Florida's broken lawsuit climate.”

According to the American Tort Reform Foundation, Florida is the No. 2 judicial hellhole in the nation, linked closely to their lawsuit abuse, fraud and plaintiffs’ lawyers schemes to receive large settlements.

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