Florida Supreme Court Dismisses Review of Assignment of Benefits Dispute

A divided Florida Supreme Court discharged jurisdiction and dismissed the review proceeding of an assignment of benefits case due to a law that was passed this spring revamping the AOB system.

According to court documents, the policyholders, John and Liza Squitieri assigned benefits to Restoration 1 to clean up water damage in their home. However, their insurance company Ark Royal Insurance Co. refused to pay the full amount. Restoration 1 sued Ark Royal for breach of contract but lost in circuit court and appeals court.

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Filed under Legislation, Property (Homeowners)

Investigation into Minor Vehicle Collision Reveals Autonomous Vehicle Risks

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently released results from its investigation into a minor collision involving an autonomous shuttle bus and a commercial truck in 2017. No one was injured in the crash; however, the incident did highlight some autonomous vehicle risks.

The autonomous shuttle operates on a predetermined route but does not have a steering wheel, brake pedal, or accelerator pedal. The attendant could only operate the shuttle using a hand-held controller which was not easily accessible when the incident occurred. A new policy was implemented that made the controller more accessible throughout a trip.

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Filed under Autonomous Vehicles

Pharmacy Owner Arraigned On Charges of Healthcare & Wire Fraud

Andrew Fisher, the president and part-owner of Physician Specialty Pharmacy, is being accused of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. Allegedly, Fisher and five co-conspirators submitted more than $4.8 million in fraudulent claims for prescriptions for compounded pain cream, scar cream, and wellness capsules. According to the indictment, Fisher agreed to fill prescriptions at his pharmacy while using drug formations that would maximize the amount his pharmacy could bill to insurance companies.

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Filed under Fraud, Healthcare

New Claims Technology to Tackle Increased Water Damage Claims

There have been a lot more claims for water damage than wind damage in recent years, including the trillions of gallons of water Texas experienced when Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017. Since that time, water damage claims have gone up each year, representing more than 50% of hurricane claims.

Here are a few of the new technologies in the following areas are being used to help combat this uptick in water and flood loss:

  • Faster, easier and better-targeted forms of communication
  • Faster estimating
  • Virtual inspections
  • Damaged item valuation
  • Smarter vendor selection using data and analytics

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Filed under Property (Homeowners)

Former Miami Insurance Agent Arrested in $1.7M Fraud Scheme

Former Miami insurance agent Antonio Jesus Zoghbi has been accused of stealing more than $1.7 million in insurance premiums. Zoghbi allegedly used fraudulent and stolen identities to create fictitious insurance policies and submit fake premium finance contracts. According to the investigation, Zoghbi diverted policy funds into his business account, which he used for personal gain. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

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Florida CFO Urging Insurers to “Step Up” in Closing Out Remaining Hurricane Michael Claims

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis is urging insurance companies to resolve the more than 21,000 open insurance claims related to Hurricane Michael. On the 9-month anniversary of Hurricane Michael, CFO Patronis released a statement to acknowledge “great strides in recovery,” but noted there’s a lot more work to do.

Click here to read the release.

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Filed under Property (Homeowners)

What Laws Did or Did Not Pass During Florida’s 2019 Legislative Session

Many laws that were passed by the Florida Legislature during the 2019 legislative session effect the insurance industry. The majority of the laws took affect on July 1st. Here’s a summary of what did and did not pass.

Here’s what passed:

  • HB 7065 – AOB Reform (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • HB 301 – Insurance “Omnibus” bill (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • HB 617 – Flood Insurance Disclosure (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • HB 107 – Hands-Free Driving Requirement (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • HB 311 – Autonomous Vehicles (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • SB 1024 – Blockchain Technology Task Force (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • HB 1393 – Modifies Areas Regulated by the Florida Department of Financial Services (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • HB 7091 – Hurricane and Flood Loss Model Trade Secrets (Effective date: October 1, 2019)
  • SB 426 – Firefighters Cancer Benefits (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • HB 1253 – Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • SB 983 – First Responder PTSD (Effective date: Upon becoming law)

Here’s what didn’t pass:

  • HB 323 – Motor Vehicle Insurance Coverage for Windshield Glass
  • SB 1052 – Motor Vehicle Insurance/Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
  • HB 7077 – Medical Malpractice
  • SB 538/HB 387 – Nonadmitted Insurance Markets
  • HB 751 – Duty of Good Faith

Click here to read the article.

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Filed under Legislation, Property (Homeowners)

Autonomous Vehicles’ Movement Towards the Mainstream

There have been many significant advances in autonomous vehicle technology around the world. Among those was a bill that was recently passed in Florida, allowing AV systems to operate on the streets without a human driver. Safety is among the main factors driving and slowing down the development of AV technology.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 94% of serious auto accidents are due to human error. However, autonomous vehicles have some of the same issues that people encounter. AV technology can be affected by weather, road markings, etc. that confuses the AV cameras and lasers, making it difficult to navigate certain areas.

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Filed under Autonomous Vehicles

Tampa Attorney Quoted in Article about Hillsborough County’s Teen Court

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Roig Lawyers Tampa attorney Philip L. Colesanti II was quoted in an article in the Osprey Observer entitled “Teen Court Volunteers Hear Cases Offering Alternatives To First-Time Offenders.”

The article is about the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of Hillsborough County’s Teen Court that was created for first-time teenage offenders as a better alternative for Juvenile Court. Pro bono attorneys volunteer as judges and train the ‘teen’ attorneys.

Click here for more information.

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Roig Lawyers Ranked #1 in Law360’s 2019 Diversity Snapshot

2019 Law360 Diversity Snapshot 2

Roig Lawyers is the only minority-owned, Florida law firm ranked in Law360’s 2019 Diversity Snapshot for law firms with 50-149 attorneys.

Roig Lawyers is ranked #1 for “The Best Firms For Minority Equity Partners” and “The Best Firms For Minority Attorneys.” It is also one of three firms with fewer than 150 attorneys that include 50% equity partners of color.

Our inclusion in this list is a reflection of our firm’s identity. We are proud of our philosophy of cultural diversity in the workplace.

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