Should I Sign an Assignment of Benefits After Hurricane Ian?

Hurricane Ian may have passed but it left behind devastation and a “bunch of vultures”. I’m not talking real vultures, well maybe there are a few real vultures. The vultures that I am speaking about are the droves of disaster relief, roofers, dry-out companies, etc. who flood in from out of town and pounce on a devastated areas and start asking devastated local homeowners to sign contracts which they have not read and probably cannot understand. This is when the homeowners real problems start.

Do not sign anything without reviewing it thoroughly. A true contractor worth his or her salt will gladly give you a day to review their contracts so that you are not being led down the road less traveled.

Next, you may want a legal opinion about your situation before you ever sign a contract with an assignment of benefits clause. Remember the old saying: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There’s quite a bit of truth in that statement, just ask anyone who was taken advantage by an out of state or out of town service provider or contractor. We learned many lessons after Hurricane Charlie that still hold true today.

  1. Hire local contractors or providers if you can. When there is this much devastation, you may want to ask for referrals from friends, relatives or your attorney. We have plenty of labor here in Southwest Florida to rebuild. After Hurricane Charlie, many locals learned that these salesman did not have their best interests at heart. Many of our neighbors who lost jobs and businesses will need to support their families. Let’s support the locals financially, as they will pump the money back into our local communities.
  2. If you care about your home and how it will be restored, Never, Never, Never, sign an assignment of benefits clause without seeking a legal opinion so that you understand completely what it is and how it will affect your personal position.
  3. An assignment of benefits (AOB) clause is a clause that can be contained within a contract for work with a service provider like a roofer, general contractor or dry-out company. Or, AOB can be an entirely separate document that a service provider will have you sign.
    1. In either case the AOB is a binding legal contract.
    2. It gives the service provider your right to deal with your insurance company.
    3. It gives the service provider your right to manage your claim.
    4. It takes away from you your right to resolve your own claim.
  4. In 2019, Florida passed AOB reforms which restored some rights back to Florida citizens after signing AOBs.
  5. If you have already signed an AOB, You can cancel it, but you must do so in a very particular way to make sure the revocation is effective. Plus, you may still owe the contractor additional funds. Lastly, please make sure that your homeowner’s insurance company is put on notice of the revocation or they will continue working with the contractor.

If you have any additional questions, or need to review an (AOB) contract clause, please contact us immediately to set up a consultation. We can do it by phone, by zoom or in person. You can reach us at 800-391-4337 today to schedule a call with an attorney for free. You can schedule a complimentary strategy session with one of our expert attorneys.