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Consumer Protection Coalition Launches Interactive Digital Guide to Avoiding Contractor Fraud & Abuse

Insurance Journal

Originally published by Consumer Protection Coalition   |   Read Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Aug. 15, 2018) – The Consumer Protection Coalition today launched an interactive digital guide designed to help Floridians avoid Assignment of Benefits (AOB) abuse that continues to plague consumers across the state.

According to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), this online tool is a one-stop shop where Florida insurance agents, companies, policyholders and the general public can learn more about AOB and how to avoid contractor abuse.

“Peak hurricane season is here – the time when most major storms hit and the threat of AOB abuse increases,” said Logan McFaddin, regional manager for PCI and a member of the coalition. “To prevent this type of abuse from happening now and in the future, consumer awareness is critical. Florida’s policyholders need to understand that when they sign on the dotted line of an AOB contract, they relinquish their rights under their policy to a third party. To avoid falling victim to these fraudulent schemes, the first step consumers should always take when they suffer damage is to contact their insurance agent or company. We hope this online tool will provide Floridians with the information they need to make sure they don’t become the next AOB victim.”

To view the interactive digital guide, click here.

Tips and information highlighted within the interactive digital guide include:

  • Type of deceptive contractor tactics
  • How to properly verify damage and get repairs
  • Importance of checking references, getting a written contract and never paying contractors upfront
  • How the AOB insurance claims scam works
  • Statistics on AOB lawsuits
  • Videos of Floridians falling victim to contractor fraud
  • Consumer tips and additional online resources
  • “Raising awareness about contractor fraud and abuse is critical to stopping AOB abuse and other scams that are hurting hardworking Floridians,’’ said Edie Ousley, vice president of public affairs for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which spearheads the Consumer Protection Coalition. “The more people know about these deceptive contractor tactics, the better our chances will be to pass AOB reform in 2019.’’

    “It’s increasingly important that consumers have the tools to protect themselves from scams and predatory practices,’’ said Alan Haskins, vice president of government affairs for the National Insurance Crime Bureau. “These tips will help homeowners and vehicle owners know what to watch out for and what can happen if they sign an AOB to start repair work.’’

    The Consumer Protection Coalition warns consumers to beware of AOB abuse, especially now during hurricane season, which can attract scam artists seeking to profit off storms. Homeowners and automobile owners should contact their insurance agent or insurance company first if they suffer damage to their home. They do not need to sign an AOB to start repairs and should be leery of vendors who pressure them to do so or refuse to do the work unless they sign one.

    The Consumer Protection Coalition has supported commonsense legislation to curb AOB abuse the last two legislative sessions and looks forward to working with incoming Senate and House leadership to pass reform in 2019.

    The Consumer Protection Coalition is a broad-based group of professionals advocating for reforms to end Assignment of Benefits (AOB) abuse. Members include the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Justice Reform Institute, Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors, Insurance Information Institute, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, Safelite Group Inc., Associated Builders and Contractors, Citizens Property Insurance Corp., Council of Property Claims Professionals, Florida Association of Insurance Agents, Florida Bankers Association, Florida Property and Casualty Association, Florida Realtors, Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association, Florida Retail Federation, Latin American Association of Insurance Agencies, National Insurance Crime Bureau, Professional Insurance Agents of Florida, Rytech and VetCor Services. Learn more about the Coalition at www.FightFraud.Today, follow the Coalition on Twitter @CPC_FL and “like” our page at FB.com/consumerprotectioncoalition.