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Mark Wilson says assignment of benefits next big Florida Chamber insurance priority

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Opening the Florida Chamber’s annual Insurance Summit in Orlando, Chamber CEO Mark Wilson told the assembled crowd of insurance agents and industry advocates that a nasty battle is brewing between insurers and “billboard trial lawyers” – and that he intends to help insurers win.

Speaking in Central Florida, which he said leads the world in advertisements for trial attorneys, Wilson said that lawsuits involving so-called “assignment of benefits” – whereby a policyholder designates a third party to collect benefits from an insurance policy – is up 1,600 percent in the past 15 years.

“Though stories like these don’t make front page news, families are left footing the bill and wondering why their property insurance rates are the highest in the country,” Wilson said. “At the Florida Chamber, we’re on a mission to change that.”

“First, we’ve sent our team of lobbyists to the Capitol to change the law and curb abuse of one-way attorney fees and assignment of benefits,” Wilson said.

“Second, we’ve doubled down and have begun an education campaign that sheds light on the shady tactics and aggressive marketing schemes that are a major part of high premiums. And, increasingly, since the media won’t do it, and political parties won’t focus on it, we are using our employer to employee program called Florida Wins.”

Wilson rolled out a 30-second ad on the issue, which he said the Chamber will try to present to every lawmaker in Tallahassee. It describes “shady” contractors teaming up with trial lawyers to increase insurance rates by forcing insurers to embed the risk of litigation into their premiums.

See the ad below:

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Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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