DES PLAINES, IL, DECEMBER 16, 2022 — The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the nation’s premier non-profit organization dedicated to identifying, preventing and deterring insurance fraud and crime, applauds the passage of Senate Bill 2A, which was sponsored by Senator Jim Boyd and Representatives Tom Leek and Bob Rommel, and signed into law today by Governor Ron DeSantis. Senate Bill 2A is aimed at helping to fix the state’s failing property insurance market, eliminating assignment of benefits (AOBs) and one way attorney fees for lawsuits filed on a property claim, and deterring fraud.
Senate Bill 2A is a comprehensive bill that is intended to ensure policyholders have access to quality, affordable private market property insurance. This reform package will help to end one-way attorney fees for property insurance, abolish AOB agreements, streamline the claims process, and increase transparency to improve the market for consumers, as well as much more.
“Insurance fraud and abuse is rampant in the state of Florida, costing homeowners and insurance carriers billions of dollars each year,” said NICB President and CEO David Glawe. “We thank the Florida legislature, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and his office, as well as Governor DeSantis for working together to stabilize the Florida property insurance market and address the decades-long fraud and abuse that has plagued the state.”
AOB contracts have long been abused by dishonest contractors seeking to obtain large settlements by convincing homeowners to sign away their rights to any claims under the homeowner’s insurance policy. Fraudulent contractors then inflate the claims to secure larger settlements – without benefit to the victim homeowner. One way attorney fees have fueled the explosion of frivolous lawsuits in Florida in recent years by incentivizing attorneys to create disputes where none exist and inflate claims. Both issues incentivize bad actors to target unsuspecting policyholders and have driven up fraudulent activity in the Florida property market for years.
“Every year as Florida’s CFO, I have fought to put policyholders first by protecting them from fraud and this year is no different,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “Rampant AOB abuse and frivolous lawsuits from bad actors have forced insurance companies out of the state and driven up rates for every Florida family. These reforms will go a long way in curbing fraud and ensuring homeownership is more affordable in our state. This is one of the most significant special sessions I’ve been a part of in my 18 years of public service and I’m thankful to the Florida Legislature, Governor Ron DeSantis, and partners like the NICB for their hard work to protect Florida consumers and fight insurance fraud.”
“NICB has been working closely with the Florida Chief Financial Officer and the Department of Investigative and Forensic Services for years to help combat fraud in the state of Florida. This law will significantly improve the environment in reducing fraud. We look forward to continuing our partnership with our state allies in pursuing our mission and anticipate substantial gains in the coming years in the fight against insurance fraud,” said NICB Vice President, Strategy, Policy, and Government Affairs Rich DiZinno.
For more information on post-disaster fraud, visit www.nicb.org or to learn about NICB’s Contractor Fraud Awareness Week, visit www.nicb.org/ContractorFraudWeek.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, call the NICB at 1-800-TEL-NICB. For additional information, visit NICB’s website, WWW.NICB.org.