As we begin to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Ian, we wanted to provide you with some useful tips on filing a claim and alert you of the dangers that often occur following a catastrophic event.
How to File a Claim
If you need to file a claim, please contact your insurance carrier directly. For a list of carriers contact information, please click here.
Avoiding Insurance Scams
After large storms, it’s important to be aware of some of the dangers posed not just by the weather, but also people who are trying to take advantage of you during a stressful time. We are here for you if you have any questions.
When it comes to making repairs to your home. Please be wary of anyone asking you to sign an “AOB (Assignment of Benefits)” agreement or any other outsiders and other organizations that seem like they are there to provide vital assistance in the form of insurance adjusters, emergency/medical personnel and other needed services. Unfortunately, not all of these people and organizations have good intentions.
Assignment of Benefits (AOB) Warning
Often misused, signing an AOB can lead to harmful consequences for the homeowner.
Assignment of Benefits (AOB) is an agreement that, once signed, transfers the insurance claims rights or benefits of the policy to a third-party. An AOB gives the third party authority to file a claim, make repair decisions and collect insurance payments without the involvement of the homeowner.
AOBs are commonly used in homeowners’ insurance claims by water remediation companies and contractors. Be aware that signing an AOB, you are transferring your insurance rights to the contractor and allowing them to collect money paid-out from your insurance company on your behalf.
We have seen contractors that file fraudulent claims, perform shoddy repair work that is not up to code or not perform the work at all. Always read the contract with a service provider to ensure it does not include AOB language. Call us to learn more or if you suspect you have signed a contract with AOB language.
After a natural disaster, unethical vendors or public adjusters may approach you with schemes promising to put you in a better position than you were before the catastrophe. These schemes usually involve kickbacks to the vendor or adjuster. You may also see a contractor or vendor ask you for a large down payment to begin work and repairs, and after they collect your money, you won’t ever see them again.
It is important to be aware of these situations and know what to do if you encounter them.
How to Avoid Fraud After a Catastrophe
We hope it doesn’t occur, but in the event that you believe someone is committing a disaster fraud scheme or if you fall victim to one, you should contact the NCDF (National Center for Disaster Fraud) immediately. The NCDF task force was created post-Hurricane Katrina and is made up of over 20 federal agencies, U.S. attorneys and law enforcement officers, who serve as advocates for those affected by fraud.
Call the Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721
Or visit online at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/how-report-disaster-related-fraud