Please call  Lee from L & S Insurance, Inc. Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance & Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, and Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to them.

Just over a week into the 2019 legislative session, insurance industry-supported bills aimed at reforming Florida assignment of benefits (AOB) abuse are making progress in the state legislature.

Lawmakers in the Florida House of Representatives and Senate have each advanced legislation that Florida’s insurance regulator, industry and consumers advocates say would help stem the tide of abuse that is spreading statewide and leading to higher rates for consumers.

And both bills tackle the number one issue that AOB reform advocates say is fueling the abuse: Florida’s one-way attorney fee statute.

Pressure from the state’s insurance regulator and new governor may be helping to move things along in what is now the seventh year the issue has been before state lawmakers.

“AOB abuse has an adverse impact on our consumers and directly undermines the ability of Floridians to have reliable insurance products available at affordable prices. I will remain a vocal proponent of measures that stem AOB abuse and protects consumers from the abusive tactics exhibited by bad actors who exploit Florida’s unique attorney fee structure,” Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier said after the passage of a bill by a Florida House committee last week.

Florida’s new governor Ron DeSantis has weighed in on the issue at his first state of the state on March 5, saying, “There are areas where Florida can do better. I hope the Legislature passes legislation to reform the issue of AOB, which has become a racket.

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2019/03/15/520750.htm

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Please call  Lee from L & S Insurance, Inc. Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance & Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, and Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to them.

Companies can be shut down or be told to non renew a large book of their business. This will be a huge problem for so many of his happens.

After reviewing the year-end financial statements of the Florida-based carriers it rates, Ohio-based ratings agency Demotech is warning that many insurers could see underwriting and operating losses in their year-end financial statements and that those insurers should be prepared to shore up and strengthen their reserves going forward.

“Florida has experienced three straight years of storms, as well as an [AOB] issue and other court issues – it’s a complex environment,” said Demotech President Joe Petrelli.

On Feb. 18, Demotech announced it had affirmed the Financial Stability Ratings (FSRs) of 51 of the 52 Florida-focused carriers it rates prior to the public release of their year-end financial statements, saying the companies had demonstrated to Demotech realistic estimates of gross and net loss and loss adjustment expense reserves related to claims arising from 2017’s Hurricane Irma and 2018’s Hurricane Michael and that their reinsurance was of “sufficient quality and quantity to expect reimbursement for outstanding losses and loss adjustment expenses…”

Despite these Florida-focused insurers having their ratings affirmed, on Feb. 28 Demotech said underwriting and operating losses should be anticipated from the year-end financial statements of many Florida carriers.

“Matthew, Irma and Michael represented a named event for each of the past three years,” the statement from Demotech said. “Operating profits proved to be elusive for many.”

Demotech further stated that going forward insurers will need to strengthen their loss and loss adjustment expense reserves to deal with the “difficult operational environment associated with assignment of benefits [AOB] and other judicial precedents that expanded insurer liability…”

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Despite these Florida-focused insurers having their ratings affirmed, on Feb. 28 Demotech said underwriting and operating losses should be anticipated from the year-end financial statements of many Florida carriers.

“Matthew, Irma and Michael represented a named event for each of the past three years,” the statement from Demotech said. “Operating profits proved to be elusive for many.”

Please call  Lee from L & S Insurance, Inc. Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance & Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, and Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to them

Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis has announced a new initiative aimed at reducing fraud in the state.

According to a statement from the Florida Department of Financial Services, the “Fraud Free Florida” initiative will work to better coordinate collective investigative efforts to protect Florida’s large population, especially seniors, from “scam artists.”

“Florida currently ranks first in fraud and second in identity theft nationwide. In 2017, identity theft cost Americans nearly $905 million,” Patronis said. “This is unacceptable, and we must use innovative ways to stay two steps ahead of criminals who want to take your identity, steal money from families who need it, and prey on vulnerable Floridians.”

Fraud Free Florida will bring together statewide law enforcement officials, local state attorneys, private sector stakeholders, and members of CFO Patronis’ fraud investigative teams. The goal will be to help Florida stay ahead of new scams and take on fraud already taking place in the state including: fraud at unscrupulous opioid treatment centers, public assistance fraud, identity theft, and cybersecurity issues.

Patronis noted fraud is especially rampant after every hurricane, when “millions of dollars are stolen as crooks prey on Florida families in their time of need to make a quick buck.

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2019/03/05/519550.htm

Please call  Lee from L & S Insurance, Inc. Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance & Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, and Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to them

The push for assignment of benefits (AOB) reform in the 2019 Florida legislative session is in full swing, and the insurance industry and consumer advocates have pulled out all the stops to emphasize their contention that abuse of a policyholder benefit has led to a full-blown insurance crisis in the state.

Whether their efforts will be enough this year after six years of failed reform attempts remains to be seen. Lawmakers are weighing legislative options, but a bil

The industry isn’t giving up on what is its top issue in the 2019 session.

“We remain hopeful of the process and that members of the [Florida] Senate and House will work through the various issues that have been raised and will land on a piece of legislation that will be helpful for consumers and that actually address these issues,” said Michael Carlson, president of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF), which represents personal lines insurers in the state.

The AOB problem in Florida stems from unlicensed water remediation and roofing contractors who have homeowners sign over their insurance policy rights in exchange for repairs to their homes. The contractors, typically working with an attorney, file inflated or fake claims, and then pursue lawsuits against insurers when those claims are disputed or denied.

Florida’s one-way attorney fee statute, which the insurance industry, consumer advocates and the state’s insurance regulator agree is driving the AOB abuse, leaves insurers footing the bill for the inflated claims and the attorney fees if the insurer is found to have underpaid the claim by any amount.

“After six or seven years of this campaign to make changes and having looked at this issue from several different vantage points and a lot of data the industry has concluded this is an attorney fee-driven cottage industry,” said Carlson.

The current remedy supported by the industry and Florida’s insurance regulator was introduced by Florida Senator Doug Broxson, who chairs the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee. Senate Bill 122 would continue to allow policyholders and beneficiaries to recover attorney fees under Florida’s one-way attorney fee statute but would prohibit assignees from obtaining attorney fees.

l backed by the industry has already stalled in the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee.

 

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https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2019/02/28/518891.htm

 

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A Florida woman has been arrested for alleged unlicensed practice of public adjusting and grand theft related to Hurricane Irma, according to a statement from the Florida Department of Financial Services.

Mary Bruce is accused of attempting to steal more than $68,000 in fraudulent insurance claims. This is Bruce’s second arrest for insurance fraud this year. Officials said she bonded out of jail in January and was arrested again on separate charges.

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https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2019/02/21/518398.htm

Please call  Lee from L & S Insurance, Inc. Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance & Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, and Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to them,

For the seventh year in a row, the Florida insurance industry, regulators, and consumer advocates will push for reforms to the state’s assignment of benefits issue that has now become an insurance crisis, according to a report from the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.)

“[Florida’s] legal environment has encouraged vendors and their attorneys to solicit unwarranted AOBs from tens of thousands of Floridians, conduct unnecessary or unnecessarily expensive work, then file tens of thousands of lawsuits against insurance companies that deny or dispute the claims,” the report says of the misuse of the policyholder protection known as AOB.

Michael Carlson, president of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, said the I.I.I. study underscores the global problem with AOBs in Florida, and highlights the “pernicious effects of our one-way fee law on our justice and insurance systems.”

“It is well past time for the [Florida] Legislature to fix this problem,” he said, noting a bill addressing attorney fees – Senate Bill 122 – has already been filed for 2019 Florida Legislative Session, which begins in March.

With rates rising and insurers pulling back in parts of the state where the abuse is most rampant, such as in South Florida, insurance leaders say the crisis must be addressed.

“The key issue at OIR [Office of Insurance Regulation] is the issue of AOB,” Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier told attendees at the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s annual Insurance Summit in November. “It is an excessive litigation issue driven primarily by a loophole in the attorney fee statute … [it] is being used to the detriment of consumers.”

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2019/01/29/515957.htm

Please call  Lee from L & S Insurance, Inc. Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance & Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, and Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to them,

The U.S. Treasury today issued final regulations and other guidance on a provision of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that allows owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, trusts, and S corporations to deduct up to 20 percent of their qualified business income on their taxes.

Today’s final rules cleared up lingering doubts about whether insurance agents qualify for the full 20 percent deduction for their 2018 taxes and for years going forward until 2025 under President Donald Trump’s tax law. They do qualify.

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https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2019/01/18/515313.htm