Florida debates water-damage claims

The Florida Senate’s Banking and Insurance Committee is once again taking on a controversial property insurance-rate issue. Insurance companies say Florida water damage claims are pushing property insurance rates up.

Insurers say a practice known as “assignment of benefits” is the main culprit. The practice involves homeowners assigning their insurance benefits over to contractors who are hired to fix water damage. Insurance companies say the contractors are inflating repair prices, which causes insurer costs to rise — costs then passed on to consumers.

On the other side of the issue are contractors who say that assignment of benefits helps them force insurance companies to properly pay for repairs. A contractor said that his firm often waits months to receive payments from insurers. He compared the battle between his company and large insurance firms to David against Goliath.

“The AOB (assignment of benefits) protects us little guys,” he said.

Some contractors say the state can fix the rising property insurance rates by creating regulations that will push out companies that abuse assignment of benefits. According to a report in the Citrus County Chronicle, they said that is a better approach than wholesale changes to the insurance business.

If your home or business sustains water damage and your insurer then denies your claim, you can speak with an attorney experienced in helping consumers get the benefits to which they are entitled.

The Tampa firm of Williams Law Association, P.A. can represent you throughout the claim process, including, if needed, providing vigorous and effective representation at trial.