SB 1002, a bill prohibiting Assignment of Benefit (AOB) contracts for windshield repair and replacement as well as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) calibration and recalibration, cleared the Florida Senate on Wednesday, April 19. An amendment to the bill, which remains intact in the current version, would also require insurers to provide discounts when offering policies with repair arrangements.
The measure comes as Florida looks to combat the rising number of lawsuits relating to auto glass. According to the American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research, auto glass lawsuits in Florida rose by 4,000% between 2011 and 2011, from 591 to 28,156.
“We have all seen the signs offering us cash or gift cards to have our windshields replaced. These incentives sound great, but the reality is some of these services are using you to sue your insurance for more money than the replacement actually costs,” says Sen. Stewart. “This behavior ultimately contributes to the ever-increasing auto insurance rates as insurers raise rates to compensate their losses from this practice.”
SB 1002, introduced by Sen. Linda Stewart, would prohibit consumers from entering into AOB agreements for re-calibrations as well as auto glass repairs and replacements. Additionally, companies would be prohibited from offering “items of value” to customers for making insurance claims for glass replacements and repairs. The bill also requires shops to notify their customers when ADAS calibration is required alongside windshield repairs and replacements.
In March, the Rules Committee amended the bill to include a provision prohibiting steering, the act of an insurer directing the insured to a particular company for repairs. The committee also amended the bill by including a repair arrangement provision.
“An insurer, or any person or entity acting on the insurer’s behalf, must provide an actuarially sound discount to the insured if they offer, and an insured accepts, a policy that contains a repair arrangement for the provision of windshield glass replacement, repair, or calibration services or windshield glass products,” the bill reads.
Having received approval from the Senate, the bill now moves to the Florida House for consideration. The bill’s companion legislation in the House, HB 541, awaits its second reading.