Assignment of Benefits Bill Filed in Florida Senate

Florida Senator Gary Farmer filed an Assignment of Benefits reform bill in the Florida Senate. As discussed in Unauthorized Practice of Public Adjusting Case Petitioned to Texas Supreme Court, and Two different approaches to the Assignment of Benefits Issue, I expect that some form of assignment of benefit reform will be passed in Florida this upcoming session.

Here is the proposed language in the bill (click on image for full bill):

I am certain that the insurance restoration industry and the small cadre of attorneys representing contractors filing suits without much of any insurance adjustment will fight any reform. But, from the policyholders’ perspective, it is needed. The insurance industry should embrace most of this proposed legislation.

I am not certain that I agree that insurance companies should not be able to claim as actuarial expenses when paying costs of attorneys’ fees paid when losing or settling cases. Unlike other industries, insurance companies are litigation machines. From an actuarial standpoint, litigation and even extra-contractual damages have historically been an actuarial expense. I can understand that some would argue that customers should not have to indirectly pay the costs of attorneys’ fees in premiums when insurers lose cases, but win or lose, insurers have a legal right to deny claims and have their day in court. Win, lose, or draw, policyholders and insurers have a right to legal process and both should be able to expense costs of litigation. Insurance companies that wrongly fight their customers will lose those customers by creating ill will and having higher premiums.

Thought For The Day

“If you want good laws, burn those you have and make new ones.”
― Voltaire

 

New York Notice of Claim Requirements

As discussed in my previous blog post regarding the tropical storm watch issued for parts of Long Island because of Hurricane Jose, as soon as damage is discovered, it should be reported to the insurance company, even if you think it is minor and not something that the insurance company will bother with. Continue Reading

Unauthorized Practice of Public Adjusting Case Petitioned to Texas Supreme Court

Unauthorized practice of public adjusting issues are going to the Texas Supreme Court. Lon Smith Roofing is not giving up and filed a petition which should be read by those with interests in the property insurance claims industry. I have previously discussed this case in: Continue Reading

Theft of Homeowner Property after Hurricane Harvey

After the rain finally stopped falling in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, many homeowners removed personal property from their homes, generally to permit it to dry in the sun. Unfortunately, while we saw many examples of humanity’s best side during Harvey, there remain those who cannot resist the temptation to steal from those who have been hurt by a hurricane. Continue Reading

Hurricane Harvey Conference

Merlin Law Group attorney Rene Sigman has been asked to co-chair a Hurricane Harvey Conference sponsored by Harris Martin Publishing. It will be held on October 19 at the Four Seasons in Houston. The conference features a Who’s Who of Texas insurance and class action attorneys. It features a special panel of judges with experience from prior Texas hurricane litigation. Continue Reading

Sean Shaw Appointed to Florida’s Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness

Merlin Law Group attorney Sean Shaw has been appointed to the House Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness. Reportedly, the committee will address evacuation planning, building codes, property insurance, flood prevention, beach renourishment, emergency shelters, school closures, power recovery, gasoline availability, and tax relief. It should also discuss FEMA public assistance and coordination with insurance obtained by Florida’s governmental entities. Continue Reading

Time Limitations in Virgin Islands Insurance Claims After Hurricane Irma

As I noted in my previous blog, Business Interruption Will Play Big Role in Rebuilding the U.S. Virgin Islands After Irma, the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands is staggering. To make matters worse, the powerful northeast eyewall of Hurricane Maria is now bearing down on the islands with what are expected to be Category 4 strength winds. The government is urging non-essential personnel to get out while there is still time. With safe structures being almost non-existent, we pray those in St. Thomas and St. John will heed these warnings. Continue Reading

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