Citizens’ Rate Increase Further Proof AOB Reform Needed

By: Carolyn Johnson

Citizens Property Insurance Corp.’s proposed statewide rate increases is further proof that Assignment of Benefits (AOB) abuse is hurting homeowners and must be addressed during the 2017 legislative session, the Consumer Protection Coalition said today.

During a rate hearing before the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation today, Citizens said its recommended 6.8 percent rate increase for personal lines policies was necessary to offset an explosion in non-weather-related water loss claims. In many of the claims, a homeowner signed an AOB enabling an unscrupulous home repair vendor to take over the policy, inflate the cost of the claim and file a lawsuit against the insurance company if it disputed the bill.

“It’s unfortunate that Citizens is here today requesting a rate increase because of a legalized scam that allows the bad behavior of a few to punish everyone,’’ said MARK WILSON, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which spearheads the Consumer Protection Coalition. “The coalition has been warning that AOB abuse would directly hit consumers’ wallets, and, regrettably, our fears are coming to fruition.’’

The broad-based coalition of business leaders, consumer advocates, real estate agents, insurance groups and others formed in January to raise awareness about the dangers of AOB abuse and need for reform. The coalition believes that abusive AOB practices and scams are harmful to consumers and jeopardize Florida’s business-friendly environment. The rapidly growing AOB problem also impacts the availability and affordability of insurance, hindering efforts by Citizens, the state-run insurer, to reduce its number of policies and shift homeowners to the private market.

Learn more about today’s hearing by clicking here.

GET INVOLVED:

The Florida Chamber and its Consumer Protection Coalition is sharing your call for AOB reform to stop the fraud and abuse. We’re gaining traction, but need your help to drive the message home. The Florida Chamber and Consumer Protection Coalition is sharing your call for AOB reform to stop the fraud and abuse. Thanks to your support, we’re gaining traction. Help us grow the Coalition by encouraging others to signing this petition.