If you trust your insurance company, a career politician who now works for an insurance company, or if you trust the government-created Insurance Corporation to look out for your best interests after a home disaster – then you can stop reading this now.
If you are still reading, then congratulations, you are an experienced consumer who lives in the real world. Unfortunately, you are also the target of a legislative assault on your rights. The latest “crisis” that insurers are peddling is alleged abuse of “assignments of benefits.” Assignments of benefits are a 100-year-old property right enjoyed in Florida where an individual entitled to coverage or benefit, like repairing property damage, assigns those benefits to go directly to a contractor or service provider who does the work.
In other words, if your roof blows off in a hurricane, you delegate your benefits to an experienced roofer and empower that expert to stand in for you in negotiation with your insurance company.
One can understand why insurers have a problem with this. They’re forced to deal with knowledgeable professionals whose interests align with the property owners. In a world without assignments of benefits, homeowners will be forced to have repairs done by “preferred providers” of their insurance companies.
If you believe you’ll get the highest quality American-made products and service in a world with no competitive market and singular power in the hands of insurers and their preferred providers, then I have oceanfront property to sell you in Indiana.
Yet, former House majority leader, and erstwhile insurance communications officer, Adam Hasner, in a recent op-ed calls increasing utilization of this 100-year-old property right a “scheme,” “unwarranted,” “slick” and a host of other less than flattering descriptors.
However, he admits in the same piece that the use of assignment of benefits began rising in 2010 – as homeowners became more aware of their rights. If his logic is sound, one has to wonder why Hasner’s insurers weren’t rushing to cut premiums and reduce rates for homeowners before 2010. Homeowners know firsthand that past insurance “reforms” do not result in premium refunds or discounts.
He then goes on to selectively cite a report prepared by the state on assignment of benefits use. What he conveniently leaves out is the fact that the report refused to take into account population growth in Florida, aging homes or the resurgence of the real estate market. On top of that, the report shockingly admits that “very few [actually 4 of 35] of the insurers were able to consistently track the use of AOBs over the period of the report time frame. (since 2010)”
We believe that the destruction of a centuries-old property right should not be undertaken based on inconsistent data or hyperbolic histrionics of a politician turned insurance mouthpiece.
Right this minute, Floridians are in the path of a storm – one bringing torrential greed and scorched homes. And if insurance company lobbyists get their way in Tallahassee, there won’t be anyone left to pick up the pieces when it’s over.
Todd Copeland, President of the Florida Justice AssociationPost keywords: insurance claim disputes