Assignment of Benefits – Everything You Need to Know

Mother nature has done it again… She brings in a strong natural disaster that damages your home or business that you’ve worked so hard on. With it being one of your largest assets, it’s your priority to get it fixed as soon as possible. You hop on a call with a contractor to have them assess the situation and give you an estimate of the cost. You know the insurance company will want one anyway, so why not get a head start. Well believe it or not “getting a head start” may sound like a simple process, but it could turn into a nightmare. The reason why you ask? Assignment of benefits.

What you need to know

Assignment of benefits is a legal document that allows a third party to be paid for certain services that they do for an insured homeowner, in which the homeowner would normally be reimbursed by the insurance company directly after making a claim. Assignment of benefits (AOB) is commonly used when a homeowner experiences roof damage, a leaky pipe, a damaged appliance, etc. and they contact a contractor for assistance. Most Assignment of Benefits agreements presented to the homeowner allow the contractor to stand in the shoes of the homeowner for insurance collection purposes. This causes legal battles between the contractor and the insurance company leaving the homeowner left out of the picture.

How to avoid an Assignment of Benefits (AOB)

If the form says anything related to “I transfer and assign all insurance rights, benefits, and causes of action under my property insurance policy to the contractor” then you are probably signing an Assignment of Benefits. You are signing away your rights to the claim under your homeowner’s insurance policy. Educate yourself. If you experience a loss, be sure to contact your insurance company first, before doing anything else. This will help you avoid dealing with an AOB issue completely.

Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • Someone knocks on your door to tell you about damage to your home that you had no idea about
  • Someone says you will get a free kitchen or free roof for no particular reason
  • They claim the damage is a lot more than it clearly is
  • Permanent repairs start before your insurance company is allowed to inspect or is notified
  • They claim to cover your deductible

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be a victim of AOB. Contact your Bankers agent if you have any questions or concerns if you need to sign any contracts. Our agents are available every day of the week to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Don’t hesitate to call 800-627-0000.

Trick-or-Treat – Let’s Be Prepared This Halloween

Boo! Are you scared? From the haunted houses that make your heart jump to the horror movies that make you want to hide behind your pillows, Halloween can get pretty spooky this time of year. But, just remember, that those goblins and ghosts that try to frighten you are all pretend. Or at least you hope so, right?

Scary surprises are fun during this holiday, but the last thing you need is a surprise that wasn’t planned. Between hazardous electric wires strung on the exterior of your home to pumpkins getting in the way of your walkway, this holiday can get pretty dangerous – especially during the darkest hours of the night. Did you know that $12.9 million in direct property damage occurs each year in the U.S. on Halloween? Bankers Insurance Group wants to ensure that there are no scary mistakes for you during this time of year.

Have no fear! There are precautions that you can take to make this Halloween safe and fun for everyone. These quick and easy tips will keep you prepared for any surprise that creep up on you.

Don’t Decorate “Griswold” Style

Are you planning on having the most decked out house on the block? That’s fun, but let’s not have a “Clark Griswold” Halloween. If you’re buying lights, make sure that you purchase outdoor lights and outdoor extension cords because they can withstand severe weather conditions. If you’re planning on using lights that you found sitting around in your garage, inspect them for broken bulbs or frayed wires. Don’t chance if the lights look broken – just throw them away and buy new ones. Most importantly, make sure the lights have a UL (Underwriters Laboratories) mark as this means they meet safety standards.

Clean It and Clear It

Did you know that 15% of injuries on Halloween are from lack of visibility in the dark? Whether you’re having guests over or you have trick-or-treaters knocking on your door, it’s crucial that the pathway to your home is clear and visible. Between the decorations on your lawn and the dark night, people can easily trip and fall. No one wants to be liable for an injury, so add a light or two on your walkway and clear the way.

Avoid Candles

Candles might set the spooky mood, especially in jack-o-lanterns, but safety comes first. Use battery powered lights instead of real candles. They give the same effect without the dangerous risks. Better yet, set the Halloween mood with pumpkins, cob webs, and gravestones. Who needs candles anyway?

Are You Covered?

Imagine this:  A trick-or-treater slips and falls on your property. You’re panicking because you don’t know if you’re covered for slips or trips on your property. Call your Bankers agent today to find out what’s covered under your policy before it’s too late.

Don’t get too worried – Halloween will still be full of elaborate costumes, yummy candy and a whole lot of fun. It’s important to be aware of the dangers this holiday because you don’t want the fun to take a scary turn for the worst. Prepare now and reduce your risks later. With these tips and the proper coverage, you can feel confident when you gather your costumes and plann tricks that will scare your guests this Halloween. It’s all just a bunch of hocus pocus anyway, right?

 

 

 

 

 

Employee Spotlight – Gail A. Murvine

With her strong determination and commitment to Bankers Insurance Group, Gail has achieved many milestones in her career. After working 20 years with the Bankers’ family, Gail consistently goes above and beyond and exhibits a strong work ethic that features her constant dedication to our policyholders. We are thrilled to highlight Gail A. Murvine, a commercial underwriter for Bankers Insurance Group, as our Spotlight Employee.

Get to know Gail:

What do you like the most about working for Bankers? What aspect of your job do you enjoy the most?

“I love the wonderful people that I work with because we have great comradery and we are always there for each other, both in our professional and personal lives. I enjoy my job because I love to help people. My favorite aspect is helping our agent partners learn and understand our products and systems.”

What’s your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

“Hand craft greeting cards as well as sewing/quilting. I even have enough craft and sewing supplies to open up my own shop.”

Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?

“Williamsburg, Virginia. I love the history, the old buildings, and the colonial styled clothing. It’s such a beautiful place.”

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t do this?

“I would have my own business. It would be a craft/sewing store that offers lessons, so I can help those who have a passion in crafting advance their skillset.”

What are you most proud of?

“I’m so proud to have raised two wonderful children. They have always been there for me and continue to do so even though they are grown and have families of their own.”

Where is your favorite place to eat?

“Italia Mia. It’s a little Italian restaurant in St. Petersburg. They have the best lasagna in town!”

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

“My dad named me after one of the girls he dated before he married my mom. My mom didn’t find that out until much, much later.”

We would like to thank Gail for being such a great asset to the team as she continues to deliver superior work and uplifts the group with her positive attitude. Keep up the great work Gail!

Gail