Hurricane Irma recovery clearly will dominate the 2018 Legislative Session, but the chairman of the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee hopes to find time to address a few of the state’s other problems.
Like assignment of benefits abuse, for example.
At last count, Irma had generated 703,671 claims with an estimated value of nearly $4.6 billion — and both numbers will increase in the months ahead, Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier told Burgess’ committee.
With that many claims, and legions of repair contractors in the field, the potential for AOB abuse seems clear.
“We’re still waiting to get a lot of the numbers in relation to Hurricane Irma, and seeing if the AOB issue has increased, as some of us maybe expect it will,” Burgess said.
He foresees moving an AOB bill off the floor in 2018, as the House did during the 2017 Legislative Session.
Regarding workers’ compensation, the Office of Insurance Regulation approved a 14.5 percent average premium increase last year. Since then, the National Council on Compensation Insurance has proposed an average 9.3 percent reduction in rates.
Burgess still considers the matter “one of the most important, if not the most important” problems confronting the state long term.
“Thankfully, they have what appears to be a temporary reduction. It’s not a complete reduction. There’s still about a 5 percent increase. There’s still the unknown of an increase down the road.”