AOB Fraud Forces Policy Changes at Citizens Property

By: Carolyn Johnson

In Florida, there’s a rapidly growing scam in which shady home repair vendors pressure homeowners to sign away the rights and benefits of their insurance policies as a condition of performing work. This practice has led to grossly inflated claims and an explosion of Assignment of Benefit lawsuits against insurers, which is driving up the cost of homeowners’ coverage for consumers.

As a result, Citizens Property Insurance, the state’s largest government insurer, recently announced policy changes that will impact the handling of claims – especially claims for emergency repairs. These changes, which will take effect on or after July 1, 2016 for new or renewed policies, are designed to help curb AOB fraud and abuse.

Policy Changes Include:

  • The policyholder must take emergency measures to prevent further damage, and the policy includes only what is reasonable and necessary up to $3,000 or 1 percent of their coverage limit, unless Citizens approves additional measures.
  • Citizens can inspect and adjust the claim. Permanent repairs cannot take place until 72 hours after
  • Citizens has been notified, or the loss is inspected by Citizens, or verbal or written approval is given by Citizens property insurance.
  • These policy changes have only been approved for Citizens Property Insurance by the Office of Insurance Regulation. However, we anticipate other insurers soon might follow suit.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce and its Consumer Protection Coalition continue to fight for solutions to AOB fraud and abuse – particularly addressing one-way attorney fee provisions.

Join our efforts by signing this petition, and stay tuned for additional updates as we continue pushing back against billboard trial lawyers.