Noble Public Adjusting Group uses our blog to educate and inform Florida policyholders about all things related to your homeowner and commercial property insurance. In that vein, today we would like to discuss an often misunderstood aspect of homeowner insurance called Assignment of Benefits, (AOB.) This is an agreement that, once signed, transfers your homeowner insurance claim benefits to a third party. An AOB gives a Florida third-party authority to file your homeowner insurance claim, make repair decisions and collect insurance payments without your involvement.
As an example, let’s say you have a pipe leak at your Florida home that causes water damage. If you call a Florida restoration company to make repairs and they have you sign an AOB that transfers your insurance rights to them, the restoration company can file your Florida homeowner insurance claim on your behalf and be paid directly without your involvement.
Assignment of Benefits in Florida: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
Where the confusion comes in, and why we put in the title, the good, the bad, and the ugly, is that Assignment of Benefits can be a great asset that frees you up from having to worry about your insurance claim getting filed, receiving your insurance payout, or your problem getting fixed. Or signing an AOB could become your worst nightmare, and it all has to do with the Florida contractor or restoration company that you choose. To help Florida policyholders understand this in detail, Noble Public Adjusting Group has broken Assignment of Benefits down to the good, the bad, and the ugly below:
Good Florida contractors who properly use Assignment of Benefits will have everyone on the same page, including the insurance company, the policyholder, and themselves, so there are no surprises. When used appropriately, AOBs can help homeowners get repairs done quickly and avoid the hassle of handling their insurance claim. Noble Public Adjusting Group has a list of vetted contractors in every realm of home repair, whether it be roofing, plumbing, water restoration, or any other type of repairs that need to be made to your Florida home. The contractors or restoration companies that Noble suggests to Florida policyholders who use AOBs do so responsibly and take on all the issues with your Florida homeowner insurance claim and subsequent repairs to your home. One great instance where an AOB can be a lifesaver is when you have an emergency like a broken water line, for instance. The plumber you sign an AOB with can instantly fix the problem and handle the insurance claim in his own time, saving you tons of headaches and possibly more damage that hesitation could cause.
Once you sign an AOB form you have assigned all of your policy benefits over to a Florida contractor or restoration company. If this contractor or supposed restoration specialist is unscrupulous, they may very well make a claim for unnecessary work, heavily pad the pricing of the work, or in some cases even commit fraud. The worst part of this scenario is that after you sign the Assignment of Benefits, you have entered into a binding legal contract and you have set yourself up for a world of trouble and could very well end up in court without your Florida home ever being repaired.
A joint effort of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform has created a one-minute consumer alert warning consumers about Florida trial lawyers and unscrupulous contractors who are scamming millions by abusing Assignment of Benefits. Nearly nonexistent 15 years ago, AOB lawsuit fraud has now spread across Florida, with many homeowners holding the bill on these ‘get rich quick’ schemes from what the Chamber refers to as a cottage industry of trial lawyers and shady repair vendors.
“Florida’s legislature should stop dubious vendors and plaintiffs’ lawyers from raiding the ‘assignment of benefits’ cookie jar. Florida homeowners face skyrocketing insurance costs because of such abuse, and the legislature can provide meaningful relief by adopting sensible reforms,” adds Harold Kim, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.
As you can see after reading the above information, you should be very careful about signing an Assignment of Benefits contract. Your first step when you have damages to your home in Florida should be to call us. Noble Public Adjusting Group keeps an updated list of Florida contractors, such as roofers, plumbers, and water restoration specialist who are vetted by us for their personal integrity and the quality of their work. Some use AOBs, some don’t. You don’t need to be afraid of the AOB, but you DO need to be very wary of Florida contractors you do not know or who have not been vetted by Noble.
We did not come across the name “Noble” by accident. Fighting for policyholders is our life mission and noble cause. Noble Public Adjusting Group’s main office is in Panama City Beach. We have several other offices in Florida, in Texas and in Georgia. Call us today and let’s discuss your insurance claim, AOBs, or any other concern you have. We love hearing from our blog readers!
Noble Public Adjusting Group
107 Amar Place Suite 103
Panama City Beach (West End), FL 32413