Florida House Bill 669, which could void the ability for companies, such as automotive glass retailers, to seek the assignment of benefits from their customers, has gained approval from two house committees and has only one more to go before it reaches the full state house for a vote.
“This bill could impact collision repair shops, auto glass shops, plumbers and more,” says Don Munro of Auto Glass Appraisal Services in Tampa, Fla. “If there is a disagreement over the bill, the insurance company or auto glass shop can invoke appraisal. The assignment of benefits also allows shops to go to litigation or arbitration with insurers. The bill has gone through two committees unopposed. It’s in the final committee before it goes to the house floor.”
The bill has been approved by the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee, as well as the Civil Justice Subcommittee. It is now before the Regulatory Affairs Committee for consideration, according to the Florida House of Representatives’ website. The next Regulatory Affairs Committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Bill 669 is not currently on the agenda; however it could still be added, according to Munro. He says it’s likely to be discussed this week or during next week’s meeting on Wednesday, April 7, 2015.
Munro hopes to bring attention to the bill because his company represents glass shops during the appraisal process with insurers.
“If auto glass shops are anticipating it will get killed in committee, then they have their heads in the sand. They need to be engaged and have a voice. This bill is not something that is good for anybody except for an insurance company,” says Munro.
The bill addresses property contractors, specifically, but it is not limited to these companies, according to Munro.
“It is an act relating to assignment of post-loss insurance policy benefits; providing that an assignment or agreement that transfers authority to adjust, negotiate or settle a claim is void; prohibiting assignment of an insurable interest except to subsequent purchasers after a loss; authorizing an insurance policy to prohibit assignment of post-loss benefits; providing exceptions; providing an effective date,” according to a copy of the bill on the Florida House of Representatives’ website.
“[A]ny assignment or agreement that purports to transfer the authority to adjust, negotiate or settle any portion of a claim to such a contractor or subcontractor, or that is otherwise in derogation of this section, is void,” according to the bill.
The bill was introduced by Florida House Representative John Tobia (R) on February 9, 2015.
To view a copy of the bill, click here.