After the chaos of a natural disaster like a hurricane or tropical storm, it is common for unscrupulous individuals to create fraudulent schemes to pray on those experiencing a loss. As such, Florida Peninsula Insurance Company would like to provide some important information about AOB abuse well before the 2018 Hurricane Season is in full effect.
What is an AOB and AOB Fraud?
An AOB (Assignment of Benefits) is a contract between you and a third party such as a contractor, roofer, or water mitigation company. When you sign an AOB, you are giving the third-party vendor the right to deal directly with your homeowners insurance carrier and receive payment for your claim. AOB fraud occurs when contractors inflate the cost of repairs, charge a fee for handling the claim, and commit insurance fraud. At times, these repairs are not completed and the homeowner must pay out of pocket to finish their repairs, as the contractor already received a claim settlement from the insurance company.
Why AOB Abuse is more prevalent during natural disasters:
After natural disasters like a hurricane, contractors go door-to-door soliciting repair and cleanup services to those in need. Many times, these contracts may come from out of town, and may not have the proper licensing or certifications to make the repairs they are promising to deliver.
What homeowners should look out for:
During times of chaos and stress caused by natural disasters, many homeowners let their guard down and signs of a fraudulent contractor may go unnoticed. Here are some red flags to look out for:
- If someone knocks on your door and tells you there are damages you did not know about.
- If you are “promised” something for nothing, like a free roof or kitchen renovation.
- If someone claims the damage is greater than it clearly is.
- If permanent repairs begin before your insurance carrier is notified or allowed to inspect damages.
What homeowners can do:
The most important thing is to be knowledgeable about the damage to your home and contact your insurance company as soon as possible, so they may send a certified professional to your home for an inspection. You should never leave your home and finances in the hands of someone you cannot trust. Florida Peninsula Insurance Company’s claims representatives stand ready to assist our policyholders with the recovery process. To report your claim, please call 877-994-8368.
If you suspect fraud, please report it immediately to the Department Financial Services at 877-693-5236. To report suspected fraud on a Florida Peninsula policy, call 866-923-5236.