Florida AOB Bills Continue to Expand, Advance Through Committees

Bills that would ban assignment-of-benefits (AOB) agreements for auto glass repair, replacement, and calibration and re-calibration are swiftly making their way through the committee process in both the Florida House and Senate. With both measures, HB 541 and SB 1002, receiving committee approvals this week alongside amendments, a floor vote could be on the horizon.

The two pieces of legislation come as Florida works to curb the rising number of lawsuits relating to AGRR work. Introduced by Rep. Philip Griffitts, HB 541 would prohibit policyholders from entering into AOB agreements starting with issuances on or after July 1, 2023. The bill has absorbed multiple amendments since its initial introduction in January.

On March 14, the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee found the measure “favorable” and advanced it to the Civil Justice Subcommittee. The Subcommittee made a few changes to the bill, including barring shops from offering incentives in exchange for making an insurance claim for automotive glass repairs, replacements and recalibrations. Shops would also be required to notify customers when recalibrations are required as part of auto glass repairs and replacements.

Of particular note was an amendment that would permit auto insurance companies to offer $250 deductibles when issuing or renewing comprehensive coverage. However, the insureds would have the right to decline that offer. Florida is currently a zero-deductible state, meaning consumers with comprehensive coverage pay nothing up front for their auto glass repairs and replacements.

Most recently, the House Commerce Committee voted on April 11 that the measure was “favorable” while also adding the term “steering” and its prohibition into the language of the bill. If an insurer is inclined to provide customers with repair shop options, then that insurer must name at least two shops for consideration. Additionally, insurance carriers would be allowed to offer discounts for policies with managed repair arrangements.

SB 1002, introduced by Sen. Linda Stewart, also progressed through the Rules Committee this week on April 11.  SB 1002 would prohibit companies from offering “items of value” to customers for making insurance claims for glass replacements and repairs. It would also prohibit consumers from entering into AOB agreements for re-calibrations as well as auto glass repairs and replacements.

Additionally, the bill mirrors a number of provisions within HB 541, including requiring shops to notify their customers when ADAS calibration is required alongside windshield repairs and replacements. Most recently, the Rules Committee amended the bill by adding the “steering” provision that was included in the amended HB 541, as well as the repair arrangement provision.

“A person, including an insurer, agent, adjuster, or any person or entity acting on the insurer’s, agent’s, or adjuster’s behalf, may not require a claimant to use a particular company or location for the provision of motor vehicle windshield glass replacement, repair, or calibration services or windshield glass products which are subject to a claim …” the bill reads.

However, the companion legislation in the Senate does not require companies to provide customers with at least two repair shop options.

This article is from glassBYTEs™, the free e-newsletter that covers the latest auto glass industry news. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Auto Glass Repair and Replacement (AGRR) magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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