Fla. Legislature Sends Bill Banning Windshield AOB to Governor

By William Rabb | May 3, 2023

The Florida House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would prohibit assignments of benefits for windshield repairs, sending it to the governor for his signature.

Senate Bill 1002, passed by a vote of 103 to 16, also would bar windshield repair shops from offering gifts to customers, a practice made famous by one company’s advertisements offering “really good steaks.” The measure also would block insurers and agents from “steering” insureds to favored repair shops but would allow insurers to offer premium discounts for policies that do include managed repair plans. The Senate had endorsed the measure 40-0 last month.

A Fix the Cracks coalition of property insurance carriers and anti-fraud groups celebrated the passage as a way to curtail litigation by windshield shops that the coalition has said are responsible for thousands of unnecessary legal actions and large loss adjustment expenses for auto carriers.

“APCIA praises the Florida Legislature for passing Senate Bill 1002 to help end assignment-of-benefits abuse in auto glass claims and protect consumers from these predatory scams,” Logan McFaddin, vice president of state government relations for American Property Casualty Insurance Association, said in a statement from the coalition. “The number of lawsuits related to AOB auto glass claims has exploded in recent years as a handful of unscrupulous lawyers and auto repair shops have exploited Florida’s current law to line their own pockets at the expense of Floridians.”

It’s the latest piece of legislation designed to reduce claims litigation in Florida. Lawmakers in December ended assignment of benefits in property claims and greatly limited one-way attorney fees in insurance litigation. The Legislature earlier this session approved a far-reaching tort-reform measure.

“Passage of SB 1002 and the Fix the Cracks initiative is a big win for drivers in our state,” said Caitlin Murray, regional vice president for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. “It’s like belt and suspenders, along with the momentous lawsuit-abuse reforms passed earlier this session, all reflecting the continuing efforts of the legislature to protect Florida consumers.”

Several windshield shop owners testified against the bill, saying that they did not enjoy suing insurers, but that they were left with little choice after full invoices were not paid.

The law would take effect as soon as Gov. Ron DeSantis signs the bill. Members of the coalition urged to sign the governor to sign the bill and he is expected to do so.

About William Rabb

Rabb covers the Southeast region for the Insurance Journal, a sister publication. More from William Rabb

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