TAMPA, FLA. – It’s a problem that affects almost anyone who owns or rents a home in Florida. Assignment of Benefits (AOB) fraud is costing thousands of people money even though they may not even know what it is or how they end up paying the costs.
Assignment of benefits is a tool that, when used correctly, can simply the insurance claims process. For instance, in the healthcare realm, signing your assignment of benefits over to your doctor allows that doctor to deal directly with your health insurance provider without you having to be the middle man.
But when used with homeowner’s or car insurance claims the instance of AOB fraud is such that insurance companies are blaming it for substantial rate increases in Florida. Some areas of the state have seen double-digit property insurance rate increases.
“It’s an issue that I think we have to fix,” said state Rep. Jamie Grant, (R) Tampa, who introduced a bill trying to address AOB fraud in the 2017 Florida legislative session. “There are bad actors who are ginning up claims that ultimately get paid by rate payers here in Florida.”
But Grant says it’s not just a contractor problem. He says there are plenty of good contractors who use AOBs in a perfectly legal and reputable way, and that insurance companies, attorneys, and unscrupulous homeowners all have a hand in Florida’s AOB fraud wave.
“The truth is there’s bad actors and good actors on both sides,” added Grant. “Just because a contractor operates exclusively on an assignment of benefit doesn’t necessarily make them a bad actor or a bad contractor.”