AOB-boxAssignment of Benefits (AOB) abuse is a fast-growing fraud scheme that is hurting Florida’s insurance consumers. While AOB is a long-established legal tool intended to allow vendors to receive prompt payment from insurers after doing emergency repair work in a home – without having to directly involve the homeowner – this process is being abused by a cottage industry of unscrupulous trial lawyers, water remediation firms and roofers. These bad actors are persuading homeowners to sign over the benefits of their insurance policies as a means for fraudulently inflating claims, filing thousands of lawsuits against insurers, and driving up attorney’s fees.

PIFF’s Position on AOB Reform

PIFF recognizes the usefulness of Assignment of Benefits but recommends legislative reforms be enacted to prevent AOB abuse from becoming a statewide consumer crisis on par with sinkhole claims abuse and PIP auto insurance fraud, which resulted in increased premiums for Floridians.

PIFF supports a change to Florida’s “one-way attorney fee” law so that businesses that sue insurance companies are required to pay their own lawyers – just like they do when they sue any other business. PIFF also supports legislation that will end referral fees between vendors; require detailed written estimates for work to be performed by a vendor; prohibit unlicensed adjusting by vendors; and put reasonable limits on how much work can be performed before the insurer is able to adjust the claim.

Visit FightFraud.Today and sign the petition to let members of the Florida Legislature know that you want to stop scams on Florida Homeowners. To learn more about how Floridians are being victimized, read their stories today.

Consumer Resources:

  • Downloadable brochure supplied by the Department of Financial Services in English and Spanish.
  • “Red Flag Checklist” in English and Spanish.
  • Consumer Tips provided by the Department of Financial Services. Click for the Spanish version.
  • Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s AOB Resources
  • Post-Loss Assignment of Benefits Fact Sheet by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
  • Consumer Protection Coalition’s guide on  how to avoid falling victim to AOB abuse
  • Call your insurance agent with further questions.
  • Contact the Insurance Consumer Helpline if further assistance is needed, 1-877-693-52-36
Newsworthy

Failure to Enact Meaningful AOB Reforms Hurts Florida’s Consumers, Coalition Says

Florida’s property insurance policyholders face paying higher rates due to the Legislature’s failure this legislative session to pass meaningful reforms to rein in fraud and abuse involving Assignment of Benefits (AOB). For the fourth straight year, legislators heard testimony about a rapidly growing scam in which shady home repair vendors pressure homeowners to sign away…

Details

Lieutenant Governor Pressures Lawmakers on Insurance-Industry Priority

TALLAHASSEE — With time starting to run out on an insurance-industry priority, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera is urging House and Senate leaders to take action on a controversial practice known as “assignment of benefits.” In a memo Thursday to House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner, Lopez-Cantera said assignment-of-benefits “abuse” has led to…

Details

Assignment of Benefits Bill Postponed; Insurers Group Urges Action

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday postponed a vote on a measure that would regulate homeowners’ ability to sign over their right to collect insurance benefits to third parties. Logan McFaddin, state government relations manager for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), issued this statement: “Assignment of Benefits (AOB) abuse is a critical…

Details

Hidden Camera Investigation Reveals the High Cost of ‘Free’ Roof Offers

ORLANDO,Fla. — Action 9 exposed some bogus offers to replace home roofs for free. In a hidden camera investigation, Action 9’s Todd Ulrich found out how the offers drive up the cost of insurance. The fliers left on front doors may claim a roof is damaged, and can be replaced for free. Several homeowners contacted…

Details

Insurance, Real Estate Coalition Seeks Homeowners Insurance Reform in 2016

More than a dozen Florida real estate, construction and insurance groups announced Tuesday that they are teaming up to push for homeowners’ insurance reform in the 2016 Legislative Session. The Consumer Protection Coalition seeks to curb a practice known as “assignment of benefits,” where owners sign away their insurance policy to a third party who…

Details

Personal Insurance Federation of Florida Applauds Efforts of Consumer Protection Coalition to Fight AOB Abuse

Personal Insurance Federation of Florida Applauds Efforts of Consumer Protection Coalition to Fight AOB Abuse TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Jan. 12, 2016 – The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF) today applauded the formation of the Consumer Protection Coalition to push for reforms to end rampant Assignment of Benefits abuse. The Consumer Protection Coalition is a broad-based…

Details

Fraud Pushing Up Premiums In Florida

By some accounts, Florida has the highest homeowner’s insurance rates in the country and rates keep rising, despite not having a major hurricane in the last decade. The culprit – a concentration of non-weather related water claims. In many cases, these claims are pushed along by unscrupulous contractors and attorneys. According to Citizens Property Insurance…

Details

Restoring Balance in Insurance Litigation – An Analysis from the Florida Justice Reform Institute

Curbing Abuses of Assignments of Benefits and Reaffirming Insureds’ Unique Right to Unilateral Attorney’s Fees Certain providers have partnered with attorneys to create a profitable litigation arrangement. In this arrangement, a service provider agrees to make a repair potentially covered by an insurance policy in exchange for the insurance policyholder’s right to sue his insurer…

Details