In the wake of damage caused by hurricanes that wreak havoc across the state of Florida, residents often sign over their insurance benefits to contractors while on the road to recovery. This practice can often lead to abuse according to many advocates. The state government is attempting to solve this problem by passing legislation that allows homeowners to rescind the assignment of benefits within seven days, or 30 days if the contractor has not begun any work.
The Florida legislation also caps emergency repairs at $3,000 and provides provisions for paying lawyers if litigation arises. Some lobbying groups supported the legislation while others opposed. Many contractors have claimed that consumers will be hurt by having to navigate the complicated insurance process, but representatives from insurance companies have claimed that the legislation will help consumers. Interest groups opposed to the new law are expected to file appeals.
Lawsuits affected by previous regulations of hurricane insurance rose significantly in the past few years due to extensive damage from several major storms, including Hurricane Michael in 2019. These lawsuits affected assignment of benefit agreements where many homeowners were left in a desperate situation after experiencing major property damage. The new legislation is designed to protect many homeowners from predatory practices.
Homeowners who are eligible to file hurricane damage claims may want to seek counsel from an attorney before proceeding. A lawyer may help their client carefully examine their insurance policy to determine which course of action best benefits their financial interests. Insurance may be able to pay for everything from flood to wind damage. An attorney might represent their client if litigation becomes necessary.
Source: CBS Miami, “Florida Passes Bill Aimed At Cutting Post-Hurricane Lawsuits“, 04/24/2019