Many homeowners have begun repairs from Hurricane Michael damage without having to pay anything up front. Instead, homeowners simply agree to sign an Assignment of Insurance Benefits giving the person making the repairs the right to go after the insurance company for payment. Assigning insurance benefits essentially puts the contractor in your shoes and allows them to begin repairs immediately and collect from the insurance company later. Insurance companies have often lobbied against this because it hinders their ability to drag the claim investigation out and control the scope and cost of your repairs.
Debate Between the District Courts Over Assignment of Benefits
In September, 2018, we reported on an opinion from the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeals (Restoration 1 of Port St. Lucie v. Ark Royal Insurance Company, Case No. 4D17-1113 (Fla. 4th DCA, September 5, 2018) that limited a homeowner's ability to get contractors to begin repairs immediately by upholding a requirement that homeowners first get approval from their mortgage-holder (a tough obstacle) before they can assign insurance benefits to a contractor. Because the Fourth Circuit's September, 2018 opinion allowing mortgage-holder approval before benefits can be assigned conflicts with a 2017 opinion out of the Florida Fifth District (Security First Insurance Company v. Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, 232 So.2d 1157 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017) finding insurance companies can NOT require mortgage-holder approval for assignments of benefits, the Florida Supreme Court has decided to take the issue up and resolve this conflict. You can read both opinions and our previous article here:https://www.twwlawfirm.com/florida-courts-disagree-about-enforceability-of-insurance-assignment-of-benefits. We will keep you advised of the Court's decision and its effect on your rights as a policyholder.
Have an Attorney Review Before You Sign an Assignment of Benefits
We advise policyholders not to sign Assignments of Insurance Benefits without having a qualified attorney review and advise the policyholder about the legal implications of an assignment of insurance benefits. At Taylor, Warren & Weidner, P.A. we will do this for any policyholder without charging and fee or cost and without any additional obligation. If you have any questions about your ability to hire and pay contractors under your policy, please do not hesitate to contact us. We never charge any fee or cost to review of your policy and explain your coverage. (850) 438-4899