TALLAHASSEE -- For the eighth straight year, assignment of benefits lawsuits accounted for more than half of all litigation against insurers in the state of Florida, as reported on a study by the Florida Justice Reform Institute.
As stated in a news story by the Tallahassee Democrat, "18 percent more AOB lawsuits were filed than in 2017. Over the last decade, that growth was 900 percent," with the total number of lawsuits "increased just over 400 percent for the same 10-year period."
Many organizations agree that there are many challenges towards a reform regarding this type of litigation in the Florida legislature.
Florida Chamber of Commerce vice president for public affairs Edie Ousley told the Florida Record that "billboard trial lawyers and their friends in the legislature are the leading cause" of the hurdles for reforming AOB lawsuits.
The chamber supports two bills that could reduce abuses in that kind of litigation.
"The Florida Chamber of Commerce and its Consumer Protection Coalition are supporting SB 122 and HB 7065 can close the loophole that has caused the escalation of AOB abuse lawsuits," Ousley said.
SB 122 deals with "specifying limitations and authorized provisions relating to a service provider’s right to payment under certain agreements with consumers under urgent or emergency circumstances," as well as it also establishes prohibitions regarding lawsuits with post-loss AOB, and the banning of attorneys' fees payment if the assignee of the benefits is a service provider.
HB 7065 provides requirements and limitations for property insurance, as well as it also establishes burden of proof, payment obligations, and a notice of intent to file a lawsuit.
It also provides that " acceptance by assignee of assignment agreement is waiver by assignee and its subcontractors of certain claims against insured," as of the Florida Senate website.
Both bills are in their respective committees.