Ditchmen • NUCA of Florida - Page 15

The appeals-court panel ruled in all three of the Palm Beach County cases, though it issued a full opinion in only one of them.

That case started in 2012 when the Royal Palm Beach home of William Hughes sustained wind and water damage, according to documents filed in the case. One Call Property Services Inc. did emergency repair work and was assigned the benefits under Hughes' policy with Security First Insurance Co.

One Call filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit in 2013 against Security First, arguing it had not been fully paid for the work. Security First raised a number of arguments in seeking to dismiss the case, including that the assignment of benefits was invalid under the policy and under state law, according to Wednesday's opinion.

While the appeals court ruled against Security First, it noted that it was not resolving some remaining legal issues in the case. It added similar caveats in the other two cases, which involved

Tower Hill Signature Insurance Co. and United Property & Casualty Insurance Co.

Lawmakers this spring considered a pair of bills (HB 669 and SB 1064) that would have substantially restricted assignments of benefits in such cases. But the bills did not pass.

The Florida Property & Casualty Association and the Florida Insurance Council filed a brief in the Security First case arguing that assignments of benefits have driven up costs for insurers and will lead to higher premiums for customers.

"Vendors have no incentive to charge competitive or market

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