Restricted the Exploitation of the One-Way Attorney Fee Statute by Assignees

In 2015, Ashley Kalifeh co-authored a paper entitled Restoring Balance in Insurance Litigation: Curbing Abuses of Assignments of Benefits, which called for restricting assignees from the benefits of the one-way attorney fee statute. After a number of legislative fights about the practice and use of AOBs in first-party markets, in 2022’s Special Session, the one-way attorney fee laws were restricted to property insurance policyholders. More work remains to be done on Florida’s one-way attorney fee statute, but Ashley architected the use of data and analytics to demonstrate the problems caused in first-party insurance marketplaces, and has published numerous reports on the topic.

Smoothed Out Commercial Insurance

Insurance rates are often challenging to price because of the processes and procedures required for changing them. On behalf of several insurance clients, Capital City Consulting deregulated the approval process for commercial insurance forms and rates, which previously were subject to full and extensive filing requirements. This was a multi-year effort that has had a huge effect on speed to market and adequate pricing goals.

Won Unclaimed Property Exemptions

A tremendous amount of media attention coincided with an effort by several Florida policymakers to overhaul unclaimed property audit obligations as it relates to life insurers. As part of proposed initial legislation, all life insurers were going to have to perform audits of data back over two decades to proactively look for death benefits that may not have been appropriately remitted to the Bureau of Unclaimed Property. Several of our clients would have been affected in a multitude of ways, so we developed a strategy individually crafted for each client to develop a strong public policy justification for exempting our clients from the significant lookback period. As a result, we were able to exempt annuities issued in connection with ERISA plans, credit life & accident death insurance, policies issued to a group master, as well as insurers who had already entered into a regulatory settlement that addressed these obligations, so as to avoid audit redundancies. Capital City Consulting was the only firm to successfully amend the law to provide for each our affected client’s needs.

Eliminated Costly Inspections

A pilot project that had far exceeded its usefulness was still embedded in statute and required insurers in seven counties to pay for the cost of required pre-insurance inspections of vehicles before coverage could be bound. These pre-insurance inspections were put into place decades before to avoid “paper” accidents, prior to VIN and other vehicle tracking sophistication. As part of a two-year project, Capital City Consulting worked to statutorily require a report as to the statute’s return on investment. The next year, with the study’s commanding results in hand, the pre-inspection program was repealed altogether, saving insurers the $25/per car cost for vehicles in those seven affected counties. Roughly 100,000 inspections were completed each year, making this a likely over $2.5 million annual market savings.

Cut Red Tape

Representing the Consumer Health Alliance, a national healthcare trade association of discount healthcare plans, our firm successfully lobbied to pass legislation that deregulated unnecessary statutory requirements such as prior approval of rates and forms by the Office of Insurance Regulation.

Fought Fraud at the Pump

Credit card fraud at gasoline pumps is on the rise and costing consumers and credit card issuers billions of dollars in Florida. On behalf of our client, VISA, our firm engaged the Attorney General’s Office, The Statewide Prosecutor and Florida Department of Law Enforcement to work collaboratively to find ways to curb fraud and share valuable information to stop identity thieves.

Removed Constraints on Relocation

In 2014, Capital City Consulting was approached by one of the country’s largest title insurers, who was interested in relocating its national headquarters. Unfortunately, they were constrained by Florida’s current statutory scheme for domestic title insurance regulation, which was inconsistent with the requirements of most other states in some very critical ways. As a result, we worked to get legislation introduced and passed that rectified the problems with Florida’s title insurance domestic regulatory framework, which then allowed the company to begin official relocation actions that same year. 

Gave Flexibility to Consumer Finance 

Changes to Florida’s consumer finance laws are difficult to come by given the scrutiny involved countrywide, but on behalf of a California-based client who was interested in doing business in Florida, Capital City Consulting was able to successfully pass legislation to change the payment schedules to make it more permissive, after helping build a foundation of data to show that payment compliance would not be affected, and if anything, improved by the added flexibility.

Kept Loan Brokers Honest

On behalf of current Florida consumer loan lenders, we opposed a strong effort to authorize a new type of unlicensed loan broker for consumer finance loans. This idea of an unlicensed person initiating consumer loans had originated out of a pilot program in California, but the pilot data suggested that unlicensed loan brokers resulted in negative consumer outcomes. Accordingly, CCC developed and implemented a strategy to prevent this legislation from passing, despite a heavy proactive lobbying effort.

Deregulated the Statutory Cap

As legislative counsel for a statewide trade organization representing agents and brokers, we were able to make the case that certain prescriptive fee caps in Florida law were incompatible with those in other states, and thus were successful in deregulating the statutory cap, ensuring that the fees would be subject to more competition and market forces.