Since the 2016 Florida Legislative Session began in January, this blog has been following two topics very closely: Appraisal/Umpires and Assignment of Benefits. Although the door has not completely closed on possible Assignment of Benefits, it appears that there will be no action taken on the Appraisal/Umpire bills.
House Bill 79 and Senate Bill 336 would have set up a new regulatory framework regarding the appraisal process and would have added specifics about who could serve as an umpire. These bills had been the subject of negotiation between various interest groups and the Department of Financial Services. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens in Tallahassee, time simply ran out. Between the negotiations and amendments, there was simply not enough time left for these bills to get through all the requisite steps for final passage.
Although the bills did not ultimately make it to the finish line, they got far enough in the process to likely keep this issue in play for next session. Hopefully, the interested parties can come to a consensus as to who can serve as an umpire, how the appraisal costs/fees are allocated, and other related issues. It is my belief that under the right circumstances and regulatory framework, appraisal can be beneficial to the consumer.
P.S. – I have gotten several requests for help on tracking legislation. Here is the easiest (free) way to do it. Go to http://www.flsenate.gov/. Enter the Bill # that you wish to research. From there, click on BILL HISTORY and then click on any tab that says CURRENT BILL VERSION. Dig around in those two tabs and you will find almost all the info you need. Otherwise, feel free to ask me directly any legislative and legal questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.