Robin Westcott, AAIS vice president for government affairs, recently participated in a panel discussion on at the 2015 Florida Insurance Summit.
The panel, entitled "Trouble at the Front Door: New Cost Drivers That Exploit Homeowners," discussed various methods construction contractors use to get homeowners to file property claims covering repairs and renovations.
In her comments, Robin shared observations she gathered from a series of forums she held throughout Florida in 2013, shortly before she joined AAIS. At the time, she was the state's insurance consumer advocate.
Robin spoke about the growing practice of "assignment of benefits" for water-related claims, under which policyholders who have incurred water damage allow contractors to access the benefits of a homeowners policy. Often, she said, the work done exceeds what the policy intends to cover. In such cases, if an insurer resists a claim, the homeowners may find that the contractor can place a lien against the home.
Robin warned the group that the state and the industry did not know want impact of assignment of benefits would have in the wake of a major weather catastrophe. In light of that, she recommended that insurers collect and present specific data on the development of these claims and their overall impact on homeowners' insurance rates if not addressed by policymakers.
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