Safe-To-Sign Assignment Of Benefits (AOB) Agreements Are Helping Hurricane-Stricken Homeowners

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Healthy Homes Council, a Florida-based nonprofit organization that actively informs homeowners of their rights, and educates and assists with the identification and correction of conditions that pose potential dangers to property and the health of occupants, supports the use of properly constructed Safe-to-Sign Assignment of Benefits agreements as an important tool for property owners to rapidly stabilize storm-related issues.

Home and business owners that suffer damage and water intrusion from storms such as Hurricane Michael desperately need to rapidly address issues that cause continuing damage and the promotion of adverse health conditions. Assignment of Benefits (AOB) agreements offers a valuable process.

While insurance companies are typically overwhelmed and slow to respond following large-scale emergency situations, and their procedures may delay addressing of immediate needs, many independent service providers and contractors are often the first rapid responders and offer valuable assistance to protect the property from further damage and address health-related issues such as the growth of mold and bacteria. Roof tarping to prevent further water intrusion, water cleanup and thorough drying are examples of professional services that are highly sought and recommended.

“Water intrusion creates the perfect environment for mold to grow, and it can develop and begin to thrive in as little as 24-hours. Professional inspection and testing for mold should be conducted whenever a property is compromised by water.” —Joe Puentes, President of Healthy Homes Council

Many of these service providers will work with homeowners on an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) basis. This is a written agreement stating that payment for the work performed will be issued from the insurance carrier directly to the service provider. This process is of enormous benefit to the homeowner because it means that there is no out-of-pocket cost and the work can be performed immediately!

While there has been considerable negative advertising regarding the use of AOB’s, it is very important that property owners understand that an AOB can be very beneficial—as long as it is Safe-to-Sign, meaning that it is properly written and issued by a reliable, licensed and insured service provider. A Safe –to-Sign AOB must clearly state that it (1) applies only to specified work to be performed by the provider, and (2) if the insurance company fails to pay the provider the property owner will not be liable for payment. Healthy Homes Council, as well as many legal and industry experts, strongly endorses the use of properly written Safe-to-Sign AOB’s from qualified service providers.

"AOB’s are an equalizer for consumers who suffer damage to their property by allowing contractors who know the true cost of repairs to deal directly with insurance companies. The healthcare industry uses AOB’s in almost every instance of medical care—a home or business owner should enjoy the same rights and protection." —Florida State Senator Gary Farmer, Attorney and Consumer Advocate

In addition to the benefits of Safe-to-Sign AOB’s, Healthy Home Council recommends that property owners that have incurred storm-related damage seek the assistance of Public Insurance Adjusters and attorneys specializing in property insurance claims, rather than relying on adjusters from the insurance carriers. Public Insurance Adjusters (PA’s) and attorneys represent the interest of their clients, not the interest of the insurance carrier, and will work for the property owner to fully document the extent of the damage and maximize the compensation to the property owner from the insurance carrier.

"Public Adjusters level the playing field for the policyholders. Public Adjusters are a necessary safety net for the policyholders and consumers.” —Jimmy Farach, President Emeritus of Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA) and President of All Risk Claims

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Joe Puentes
Healthy Homes Council
+1 (800) 985-1772
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