AIF on Assignment of Benefits, Workers’ Compensation & Insurance Rates Legislation

April 3, 2017

Tallahassee, Fla. – The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) today released the following statement on behalf of its President & CEO Tom Feeney regarding Senate Bill 1218, by Senator Gary Farmer, relating to Property Repair; Senate Bill 1582, by Senator Rob Bradley, relating to Workers’ Compensation Insurance; Senate Bill 1008, by Senator Keith Perry, relating to Public Records/Injured or Deceased Employee/Department of Financial Services; as well as Senate Bill 1684, by Senator Farmer, relating to Insurance Rates.  These bills were today heard in the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee, their first committee of reference.

“AIF supports legislation that addresses cost drivers in our state’s property insurance market, as well as legislation that helps restore a stable, self-executing and affordable system for injured workers. 

“While we appreciate the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee for hearing legislation today that addresses Assignment of Benefits (AOB) and workers’ compensation, AIF believes SB 1218 actually takes the property insurance marketplace backwards, while SB 1582 don’t go far enough.  Further, AIF does not support SB 1684, which attempts to change the rate-making process for litigation, resulting in Florida businesses having to settle everything, even the most frivolous of lawsuits, or jeopardize capital needed to pay claims in the result of a hurricane. In fact, the Senate’s own staff analysis recognizes that SB 1684 will likely lead to an increase in insurance rates.

“Bad actors across Florida are creating unnecessary litigation over property water damage and auto glass repair that’s taking benefits from Florida policyholders while at the same time making their insurance premiums skyrocket.  AOB abuse must be stamped out for the sake of Florida’s property insurance market, which in turn will help relieve Florida homeowners and business owners from the rising cost of litigation by unscrupulous lawyers and vendors.

“The same goes for our state’s workers’ compensation system.  While AIF supports SB 1008, which addresses one component of abuses faced by Florida’s employers by exempting public records relating to injured or deceased workers, AIF believes there is still more to be done to make Florida’s workers’ compensation system whole again.  Floridians deserve a workers’ compensation system that works to their benefit, not to the benefit of trial lawyers.  Under AIF’s ‘Florida Workers’ Compensation Strategic Task Force,’ the business community came together on comprehensive solutions that would protect the rights of employers and employees.  We need a complete set of measures that address all aspects of the workers’ compensation system in Florida so that Floridians can avoid unnecessary, costly and time consuming litigation and receive the benefits they need if injured at work as quickly as possible.

“AOB and workers’ compensation are must-fix issues this session, and AIF looks forward to continuing the thoughtful discussions with our state’s leaders on how we can relieve these pressures that are negatively impacting Florida’s families and businesses.”

Known as “The Voice of Florida Business” in the Sunshine State, AIF has represented the principles of prosperity and free enterprise before the three branches of state government since 1920. A voluntary association of diversified businesses, AIF was created to foster an economic climate in Florida conducive to the growth, development, and welfare of industry and business and the people of the state.

For more information on AIF, please visit AIF.com and follow @VoiceofFLBiz.

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