News & Events: Blog

Assignment of Benefits: Another Rip Off?

Monday, May 4th, 2015 by Audrey Simmons


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Photo credit: www.morguefile.com  

Have you endured the struggle of water, fire, smoke, or mold damage in your home? If so, you know the feeling of being overwhelmed by the work it takes to get your home and life back to normal. With the added stress of work, family, school, and life already on your plate, all you want is for your home to be restored as quickly as possible!

When disaster strikes, the first thing you need to do is call your insurance company and they will give you references for a local restoration company. Occasionally you may be approached by a restoration company before you have a chance to call, or when the company arrives - even when referred by your insurance company they might try to get you to sign something before they start to work. This is where you need to be careful! Many restoration companies will insist that you sign what is called an assignment of benefits, or AOB, before they can start working on your home. Do not sign it!

What is an assignment of benefits? An AOB is a legal document which entitles the restoration company to act as the homeowner (you) and bill your insurance company directly for the services they provide.

No payments? Less work? Sounds great right? Wrong…

Typically, the insurance company sends the homeowner a check for the repairs and the homeowner pays the restoration company using those funds.

Originally created to protect restoration companies and ensure they receive money for their services, AOB was without a doubt created with good intention. Unfortunately, like many other things of this nature, it is being taken advantage of for monetary gain throughout the state of Florida.

It could happen to you! For a real life feel of how AOB is affecting homeowners in Orlando, watch this report from Orlando’s Action 9 News about a woman’s struggle to get her kitchen restored after signing an AOB.

Here is what can happen:

  1. The homeowner signs the assignment of benefits

  2. The insurance company pays the restoration company directly

  3. The restoration company claims the damages cost much more than what they were paid

  4. The restoration company either takes the money and does not complete the work OR they finish the work and charge the homeowner the difference

  5. If the homeowner can not pay the difference, a lien could be put on their home

If you or someone you know has been a victim of AOB fraud or you just want to know more information about your rights, please read through this consumer advisement titled Assignment of Benefits: Homeowners Know Your Legal Rights.

 

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