Florida’s AOB Reform Law
Homeowners seeking repairs for damaged property can avoid losing control over their insurance rights and potentially benefit from reduced insurance rates starting on July 1, 2019, with the passing of House Bill 7065. Signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the law seeks to address concerns regarding abusive litigation practice by contractors and their lawyers.
In addition, the law aims to help Florida homeowners retain ownership of their policy rights and benefits and to help stabilize insurance premiums that have surged due to fraudulent assignment of benefits practices. If your home or business sustains damage, call the Orlando attorneys with 911 Biker Law for experienced assistance with filing an insurance claim.
What Is An Assignment Of Benefits (AOB)?
An assignment of benefits (AOB) is a contractual legal agreement commonly used between third-party vendors or contractors and homeowners seeking repair services for damaged property. Once signed, the AOB transfers the insurance claim rights or the benefits of the insurance policy to the third-party. This agreement provides the third party with the authority to file a claim, make repair decisions, and collect insurance payments without homeowner involvement. If a homeowner contacts a restoration company to repair water damage, for example, the homeowner may sign an AOB that transfers policy rights to the company.
The company can thereafter file a claim and receive payment directly from the insurance company as well as file an insurance lawsuit without the knowledge of the homeowner — insurance litigation increased by 19,000 percent from 2008 to 2010, resulting in higher property insurance premiums. House Bill 7065, and the provisions therein, serve to help remediate the misuse of AOBs by contractors and vendors for the benefit of Floridians and their homeowners insurance policies. Contact our Orlando Insurance Claim Lawyers for more information about how the new law can benefit your claim or to discuss your insurance case.
Provisions Of AOB Reform Law
Provisions of House Bill 7065 include, but are not limited to, the following. Contact an insurance defense lawyer with 911 Biker Law today for more information about how an attorney can provide assistance with property damage claims for hurricane damage and more.
- Transferring of certain pre-lawsuit duties under the insurance contract to the assignee and shifting the burden to the assignee to prove that any failure to carry out such duties has not limited the insurer’s ability to perform under the contract
- Requirements for each insurer to report specified data on claims paid in the prior year under assignment agreements by Jan. 30, 2022, and each year to follow
- Provisions which allow an insurer to make available a policy prohibiting assignment, whether in whole or in part, under certain conditions
- Require assignees to serve written notice at least 10 business days prior to filing suit. The notice must include, among other things, the amount of damages in dispute, the amount claimed, and a pre-suit settlement demand.
- Require assignees to provide a detailed written invoice or estimate of services, the number of labor hours, and in the case of work performed, proof that the work has been performed in accordance with “accepted industry standards.”
- Requirements for definition of the term “assignment agreement” and requirements for the execution, effects, and validity of the agreement
- Prohibitions to certain fees and altering policy provisions related to managed repairs in an assignment agreement
- Revisions to Florida’s one-way attorney fee statute to incorporate an attorney fee structure in determining the fee amount awarded in suits by an assignee against an insurer
Tips For Filing A Property Damage Claim
Being proactive with all aspects of your homeowners insurance policy and Florida’s insurance laws can help you avoid issues such as assignment of benefits abuse by third-party vendors and contractors. Property owners and homeowners alike should read thoroughly their insurance policy and understand their responsibilities in the event of a loss. Another important factor of the claims process is noting the time requirements — as established by the policy — both for contacting and filing a claim with the insurance company following a loss.
Our property damage lawyers recommend that property owners thoroughly document and photograph the damaged property as soon as possible following the loss — receipts, police reports, and other documentation are likewise pertinent. Prevent additional damage following a loss by protecting the damaged property. If your home or business becomes damaged due to a hurricane, a storm, or another reason, first, ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones and, second, contact an insurance lawyer for assistance with the insurance claims process.