Florida property owners, listen up: The rules have changed on how you can get your home repaired after a hurricane or other natural disaster by letting a contractor deal directly with your insurance company.
The legislation, CS/HB 7065, is the biggest change to Florida law on assignment of insurance benefits in years.
Whenever Florida is struck by a hurricane or other natural disaster, contractors flock to the area, going door to door and offering to start immediate repairs on homes and businesses if the property owner will sign over their insurance benefits to the contractor.
These “assignment of benefits” contracts, also known as AOB, can result in a high-quality repair at a fair price by a licensed, insured contractor.
But in recent years, insurers have been pressuring lawmakers to rein in abuses of these AOB contracts, especially lawsuits arising from disputes between contractors and insurers over how much to pay for repairs.
In early 2019, Florida insurance regulators testified to the legislature that that such lawsuits were skyrocketing, driving up insurance costs and threatening to drive some insurers out of the Florida market.
Meanwhile, property owners have complained that insurers take too long to inspect property, approve repairs or authorize immediate temporary repairs to prevent future damage. The new law sets new time limits for insurers, property owners and contractors.
Here are some of the major provisions of the new law:
However, if an insurer doesn’t inspect the property or authorize repairs within seven days of notification of a loss, the insurer must give up its right to recover attorney’s fees from a resulting lawsuit.
PS: Here's a HUGE tip we learned during a Facebook Live with the Tasha Carter of CFO Jimmy Patronis's Office: The document you sign that *is* the Assignment of Benefit does NOT have to state Assignment of Benefit at the top ... and likely won't.
Read the legislature’s analysis of the bill’s provisions here.
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