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Florida Senate works on ‘assignment of benefits' insurance proposal

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After a bill stalled this month in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, Senate leaders are working on a revised proposal to address the controversial insurance practice known as assignment of benefits, Senate President Bill Galvano told reporters Friday.

Galvano said Banking and Insurance Chairman Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze, and Judiciary Chairman David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, have been working with other lawmakers on the issue.

Galvano said he expects it to be ready for consideration by the Banking and Insurance Committee when lawmakers return to Tallahassee for the March 5 start of the annual legislative session.

The Banking and Insurance Committee is scheduled to meet March 4, the eve of the session. Assignment of benefits, or AOB, is a decades-old practice that has become highly controversial in recent years.

In assignment of benefits, homeowners in need of repairs sign over benefits to contractors, who ultimately pursue payments from insurance companies.

Insurers contend that the practice has become riddled with fraud and litigation, while plaintiffs’ attorneys and other groups say it helps make sure claims are properly paid.

Broxson proposed a bill (SB 122) that would have addressed the issue by limiting attorney fees. But the Banking and Insurance Committee tabled his proposal Feb. 11 after it became apparent the measure would fail if brought up for a vote.

Galvano, R-Bradenton, did not discuss details of what might be included in the revised proposal.