February 22, 2017

Heat Is on Florida Lawmakers to Fix Assignment of Benefits Crisis

Florida’s insurance industry will apply significant pressure on lawmakers to pass assignments of benefit (AOB) reform in the upcoming legislative session as consumers face rate increases and a looming coverage availability crisis due to serious and costly abuse of the policyholder benefit.

While the industry seems to finally have reached a consensus on what is fueling the widespread AOB abuse and how to fix it, the question of whether the Florida Legislature will agree to act on the industry’s recommendations remains to be seen. Read More.

February 10, 2017

Lenders may soon reject some Fla. property insurers

TALLAHASSEE – Looming ratings downgrades for six to eight Florida-based property insurers could affect about 250,000 policyholders statewide, forcing some to find new insurers, according to sources familiar with an advisory issued this week by ratings agency Demotech.

The company, whose Financial Strength Ratings (FSNs) determine which insurers are acceptable to lenders of mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, also announced that two state Supreme Court rulings that went against insurers in 2016 prompted it to suspend the standards by which it rates 57 Florida insurers. Read More.

Debate Heats Up Over Florida Property Insurance Claims

TALLAHASSEE – With insurers and regulators blaming a surge in water-damage claims for higher property-insurance rates, Florida lawmakers Tuesday began grappling with a controversial debate that includes homeowners, contractors, insurance companies and trial lawyers.

The issue centers on a practice known as “assignment of benefits,” which involves homeowners signing over insurance benefits to contractors who are hired to do repairs. Supporters say the practice can help ensure that insurance companies pay claims properly – but critics say abuses of the practice are driving up insurance premiums. Read More.