The Florida Legislature met in a special session this week to pass laws that will address the latest insurance crisis in Florida. Insurance rates skyrocket, insurance companies break up and Florida insurance companies do not pay full damages – some do not because they break up and rob Peter to pay Paul.
One of our law firm’s lobbyists noted that even a Florida senator who is an insurance agent said the laws passed would not lower prices in the short term. I enclose the House’s personnel analysis, the Senate’s personnel analysis and the engrossed bill for those who want to read the impact of the laws and the actual legislation.
Most of my efforts were devoted to opposing the insurance industry̵7;s attempts to make major changes to Florida’s law of civil law in good faith. The insurance industry wanted to adopt laws designed to protect policyholders from insurance companies that incorrectly pay too low, delay and deny claims. They used the recent “crisis” as an excuse to change the laws that would hold these criminals accountable. “Bad Faith Reform” really means – “do not hold insurance companies accountable when they refuse to pay in full and quickly.”
United Policyholder’s CEO Amy Bach expressed concern about changes in the laws in a phone call I had with her. But she also expressed concern about marketing methods to policyholders from certain contractors, which promote insurance claims that should never be raised. Some of the new legislation addressed these marketing problems. I have great respect for Amy Bach because she only focuses on the policyholder’s interest.
Jeff Porter and the Florida Justice Association (FJA) deserve a huge shout-out. FJA is the big nail in the eye of Florida’s insurance lobby and the strongest voice for Florida consumers. Without their constant vigilance, many laws that are harmful to insurance consumers would simply be rubber-stamped because there is no other voice in Tallahassee that stands up to the lobbyists of hundreds of insurance companies. I’m proud to be an Eagle Member of FJA and I’m amazed at the work Porter and his passionate team do to support policyholders’ interests.
The important conclusion in the legislation is that insurance contractors with AOB will not get their legal fees paid according to Florida’s legal fees. Policyholders will have a harder time finding lawyers to take on their more complex and smaller cases. There is an additional requirement that makes the policyholder prove that the insurance company has violated the insurance contract when he brought an action for unfair damages. And the legislation will not lead to falling prices.
When buying and selling are governed by legislation, the first thing that is bought and sold is legislators.