So we all probably heard by now that Ringling Brothers’ Circus will finally phase out their famed elephant act. They say “The Greatest Show on Earth” has evolved into a kinder, more civilized circus. So why then can’t we seem to get the same kind of enlightened progress from our politicians in Tallahassee?
Early March marked the start of our legislative session and for eight weeks Floridians may be left wondering whether our lawmaking process has become ‘the greatest sideshow on earth.” We’ve got loads of attention on who can tinkle in whose bathroom and who can pack what kind of heat on campus but what about the issues that really affect Floridians? Watch the big dancing elephants in the center ring they say.
It seems too few of us are paying attention to important bills like a little-watched law that would basically bar insureds from assigning their rights under their policies. Why does that matter asks anyone without a subscription to “Actuaries’ Weekly?” Well, most healthcare providers, car repair shops, and home damage/water restoration companies rely on “assigned insurance benefits” to immediately service their insured customers without demanding full payment up front. They depend on knowing that they can pursue the insurer later for direct payment for their services.
How does that help consumers to outlaw this practice? “Just watch the merenguedancing mammoth in the middle,” the insurance industry says because this law isn’t about helping premium-paying Floridians. It’s about making you fight with your emergency providers and repair professionals so that the insurance companies don’t have to. Worse yet, some politicians want to make sure lawyers can’t get paid to fight these wrongful claim denials.
So for the next two months while the “political circus” is in town, let’s hope we get political progress and not another ugly three-ring elephant act.
Russel Lazega is an attorney and author of two of Florida’s most widely distributed legal textbooks on Florida Insurance Law. He also represents accident victims and consumers at war with their insurance companies and is based in North Miami, Dania Beach, Orlando and Tampa, Florida. Questions? Contact: Russ@ lazegalaw.com.