Bringing Balance to South Florida Homeowners Insurance Continued

Bringing Balance to South Florida Homeowners Insurance Continued

Part 2

Also, if a contractor accepts the assignment, they will be automatically held to the same requirements as the policyholder, such as providing proof of loss and answering inquiries under oath, if necessary.

The insurance company’s response time to the claim will be cut from 30 days to 20, under this bill. They must affirm or deny full or partial coverage of claims, and, as to partial coverage, the dollar amount or extent of coverage.

Additionally, they must pay undisputed amounts of partial or full benefits owed under first-party property insurance policies within 90 days after an insurer receives notice of a residential property insurance claim.

The bill also goes on to restrict contractors when they are looking to place a lien on a customer’s home. HB 1097 states that a policyholder who assigns the right to receive the benefit of payment under the policy is not liable to the assignee for services and materials for which the insurer is liable. Additionally, the assignee may not collect or attempt to collect money from, maintain any action at law against, or claim a lien on the real property.

Assignment of benefits would still be legal, even to the behest of Citizens Property Insurance, which warns of “financial catastrophe” unless lawmakers barricade illegal contractor practices, the insurer says, are pushing up premiums.

Insurers just want to stiff consumers and restrict contractor rights, contractor lobbyists say.

Referral fees for these types of claims might be on the chopping block as well, according to the recently passed HB 671.

This bill is resulting from claims made by insurance companies. They state that water damage restoration companies are passing on referral incentives of $1000 or more to a tradesman, such as plumbers, to get instant access to policyholders with water damage emergencies. Supporters of the bill are quick to point out that this practice often results in inflated invoices, submitted to the insurance company by these repair contractors. Currently, this practice is not prohibited, but the bill looks to curb this practice.

HB 671 goes further to limit a licensed contractor, unless also a licensed insurance adjuster, from giving advice or commenting on a policyholder’s coverage listed in their policy.

Contractors would also be required to provide written and detailed estimates of the costs of the repair, to the policyholder, before any commencement of restoration work.

Martha V. of Pembroke Pines learned her lesson. She said, “My insurance rates keep going up, and I know it is because of contractors and the way they deceived me and the insurance company. It happened when my house flooded.”

Homeowners and the insurance industry will just have to see where this goes and how it will impact homeowners and their policy premiums.

Don’t be left in the dark about your rights because you did not understand your homeowner’s liability insurance policy. Contact Broward Insurance, and find out why they are South Florida’s best resource for homeowner’s insurance advice. A few moments of your time will bring you the peace of mind you need.


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