Rough Storm Ahead for South Florida Homeowners

Since 2012, insurers are dealing with the unintended consequences of a move that was supposed to be a benefit to homeowners. Assignment of benefits was supposed to allow homeowners, renters, and landlords get their damaged properties fixed quickly and back to normal after a flood, accident, or other event. Instead, thanks to a few contractors and complicit attorneys, AOB has turned into a massive burden on Florida residents in the form of hiked premiums, and a thinning field of insurers, pushing more residents to fall back on Citizens Insurance – the insurer of last resort – who in turn has to hike premiums because of still more AOB fraud by less-then-transparent and aboveboard practices by a small number of contractors.

Where’s the Legislature?

Let’s face it. The representatives are going to make noise and point fingers, but if you’re looking for action you need to start looking at the money that trial lawyers and contractors are dishing out to stall any action. For the fifth year in a row, the Legislature punts while policy holders see another rate hike in the neighborhood of ten percent. Frankly, these obscene torrents of cash smack of payola, with the legislature acting less like a body of lawmakers than a vending machine. Money buys access, not for Florida citizens, but for those with deep pockets who want to give the value of their expertise in drafting legislation (or stalling it) based on how it would affect their cash flow. In short, if you are depending on the legislature to fix AOB, let’s just say that you might see the Tooth Fairy in action first.

What’s the Solution?

Some Florida insurers are offering new ideas and a number of shady contractors may be looking at AOB as being less a gravy train and more as a gun with which they’ve cheerfully shot themselves in the foot. Citizens, Cypress Insurance, and others are coming up with the home restoration equivalent of an HMO. Under Cypress’ plan, the insurer will pay the deductible up front to a preferred contractor, and then bill the homeowner for the amount over 30 months. Citizens non-weather related losses Managed Repair program puts a preferred provider on site within four hours of a claims notice and covers everything from mitigation services, board-up and tarping, to permanent repairs that restore the home to full use and value. Insurance companies are unlikely to work with contractors and attorneys that have made a lot of money from beleaguered Florida insurance companies by suing them.

Talk to Us

As much information as there is online, getting your best coverage is not a DIY project. Insurance agents are licensed and keep up with the latest issues in the insurance industry. We can offer our expertise to our clients and help them figure out what they need in terms of coverage. An independent insurance agent at E&L can help you to figure out how to best cover your home and craft a coverage plan with the best protections at an affordable price.