Charles and Wendy Snellgrove of Clearwater shared their first-hand experiences with Assignment of Benefits (AOB) abuse related to repair work on their homes when they testified before the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee yesterday. The Snellgroves encouraged lawmakers to pass AOB reform legislation this session.
The Snellgroves signed an AOB to repair a leak under their kitchen sink. They thought they were authorizing repair work to start but, in fact, were signing over control of their insurance policy to the restoration company. The company proceeded to gut their kitchen and charge their insurance company $26,000 for considerably more work than was necessary.
It turned out the leak was minor and did not justify removing the kitchen but, by then, it was too late. The Snellgroves tried to rescind the contract, but the water remediation company refused and sued them for breach of contract. In the end, it took the Snellgroves more than a year and a half to get their kitchen restored.
“It angers us tremendously that repair companies are using AOB to take advantage of people,’’ Charles Snellgrove said. “No one should have to go through what we did.’’
The consumers’ testimony was part of a workshop spread out over two full committee meetings to discuss AOB as it related to property and auto glass claims. Senator Doug Broxson, Chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, has introduced legislation – SB 122 – to address the awarding of attorney fees under insurance policies and contracts, which is fueling AOB abuse. AOB abuse has become a cottage industry for trial attorneys working in cahoots with shady vendors, including home restoration organizations, looking to make a quick buck.
The Consumer Protection Coalition, which is spearheaded by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, applauds Broxson and the Senate for their attention to this issue so early in the session and for recognizing the problem.
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