Amendment could align House, Senate AOB bills

Florida water damage AOB
Broxson filed a strike-all amendment that would bring the Senate bill closer to its House counterpart.

Sen. Doug Broxson filed an amendment Tuesday to his assignment of benefits reform bill that could bring it in line with the package passed by the House last week.

In its current form, SB 122 focuses on one-way attorney fees. It would restrict contractors pursuing lawsuits against insurers to a prevailing-party system for attorney fee payment. It also provides regulations guiding AOB agreements in the case of emergency repairs.

AOB allows homeowners to sign over their insurance policy benefits to contractors and attorneys in exchange for a quick repair.

Broxson’s strike-all amendment, however, would make the bill nearly identical to HB 7065, which passed the House with a 96-20 vote Thursday.

The House bill would make changes to attorney fees based on the difference between the judgment sought by AOB contractors and what the court awards.

It would also give homeowners the ability to back out of AOB agreements within two weeks of signing or 30 days if the work hasn’t been “substantially” performed. Additionally, the bill would require Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-backed insurer of last resort, to pass on any savings from the reform to homeowners.

Notably, language addressing auto-glass repairs, which account for an increasing amount of AOB suits, was removed from the final bill.

The Senate plan has cleared the Banking and Insurance Committee and Judiciary Committee and is awaiting a hearing in the Rules Committee, its final stop before it’s ready for a floor vote.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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