Restoration and Remediation Professionals
Often times, when disaster strikes a home or business, restoration and remediation professionals are the first ones on the scene. In an effort to simplify the process for the already burdened home or business owner, many restoration and remediation companies permit the home or business owner to execute an agreement, referred to as an “assignment of benefits,” whereby the restoration/remediation company is permitted to bill the claimant’s insurance company directly.
This arrangement eliminates the need for policyholders to pay the cost of restoration and remediation services up front, and then seek reimbursement of those costs from their insurance company. However, sometimes the insurance company refuses to pay the restoration/remediation company for the full value of the work performed. Even worse, sometimes the insurance company denies the claim altogether. That is where we come in.
At Kuhn Raslavich, P.A., we believe that every business deserves to be paid in full for the services they perform. This is especially true when the provider is coming to the aid of a home or business owner after a fire, water or wind event. If you believe that an insurance company has treated you unfairly, call in your disaster professional. At Kuhn Raslavich, you mitigate, we litigate.
Contractors Guide to post HB 7065 Insurance Claims
House Bill 7065, which created Florida Statute section 627.7152, has caused much confusion and is an ongoing source of concern for restoration and remediation contractors. For many small businesses, the law renders the use of Assignment of Benefits (“AOB”) in Florida impractical. Often, the risks involved with using AOBs far outweigh the benefits. So….what to do?
One option we recommend contractors consider is utilizing certain agreements such as a Contract for Services, a Service Authorization, a Direction to Pay, an Exclusive Right to Repair, Letter of Protection, and Required Statutory Notices. These agreements provide the following protections to the contractor:
Contract for Services: Gives the contractor authority to enter property, conduct a proper investigation and assess the scope of damages.
Direction to Pay: Directs the Insurance carrier to pay the contractor directly.
Exclusive Right to Repair: Gives the contractor an exclusive right to perform the scope of work.
Letter of Protection: Provides certain protections for work done on credit during the pendency of an insurance claim.
Required Statutory Notices: Provisions required by Florida law to be included in construction contracts.
These provisions are designed to protect the contractor as well as the property owner; however, these provisions will NOT constitute an AOB and therefore will NOT allow the contractor to file a lawsuit in its own name as a non-insured to recover from the insurance company directly.
How To Get Paid When the Insurance Company Denies or Underpays the Claim
Without the right to sue an insurer directly, contractors are left with two options when a claim is denied or underpaid:
- Try to collect from the property owner directly; or
- Refer the property owner to an experienced property insurance attorney who will honor the provisions of the enclosed sample service authorization and protect the contractor’s interests.
At Kuhn Raslavich, P.A., we have over 50 years of combined experience litigating insurance disputes in Florida. In light of the new AOB law, we recommend that all restoration and remediation contractors working on property insurance claims have the appropriate protections in place and refer their clients to qualified property damage attorneys. Contact Kuhn Raslavich today to discuss your business practices and the best way to protect your profits in a post-AOB environment.
NOTE: The agreements referenced above are not intended to provide liability insulation or disclaimers. It is highly recommended that you consult with a licensed member of the Florida Bar prior to implementing any contract into your business practices.