Homeowner goes without kitchen for months, blames assignment of benefits

Insurance Journal

Originally published by ABC Action News: WFTS Tampa Bay   |   View Story

It's been 10 months since a pipe burst and flooded Clarkia Denis's home near Riverview.

When we visited Denis in June, the kitchen sat gutted and boxes of cabinets made it difficult to walk through her living room. The floor was bare concrete and waiting for new tile.

This retired school teacher blames her plight on the assignment of benefits clause her contractor suggested she sign. She says Dry Wizard pitched it as a way for her to not have to deal with her insurer.

Paperwork and checks indicate Denis’s homeowner’s policy paid out Dry Wizard close to $28,000 since last November. The company came in, tore out flooring and her kitchen but most of the work went undone.

We contacted Dry Wizard and they refused to answer our questions about the job. But they immediately restarted work on her home. The cabinet installers arrived days later.

An assignment of benefits form allows the contractor to bill and collect directly from the insurance company and is often sold to the consumer as a convenience. But in hundreds of cases, AOB’s resulted in inflated claims and or unfinished work.

Over the past six years, lawmakers have introduced measures to curb AOB abuse but nothing has made it into law.