A July press release from the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is warning Floridian consumers to not fall victim to rampant auto glass repair schemes that take place in the summer months. Since travel is up during the summer, so is the likelihood of windshield damage from road debris, and, according to PCI, some auto glass repair shops within the state are abusing assignment of benefits (AOB).
“Some auto glass repair shops try to convince unsuspecting consumers to sign over their insurance benefits,” said Bob Passmore, PCI’s assistant vice president of personal lines policy, in the statement. “These shops aren’t affiliated with the insurance companies. They may inflate the glass claim and then turn around and sue the insurance company, often without the policyholder’s knowledge.”
The release sites stats from the Florida Department of Financial Services, stating that in 2006, an estimated 400 auto glass AOB lawsuits were filed against auto insurers. A decade later, the number of lawsuits inflates to almost 20,000.
PCI urges consumers in Florida to be weary of auto glass repair shop representatives who approach them in unlikely places, such as parking lots, car washes and their homes.
“[Auto glass representatives] claim they will work with the consumer’s insurance company on a ‘free’ windshield replacement. With a quick signature on a form or iPad, a consumer could be signing away their insurance rights to the glass shop and entering into an insurance fraud scheme,” Passmore stated. “That scheme ultimately drives up auto insurance rates and the overall costs of auto glass repair services. Florida consumers should always call their insurer before signing any documents.”
Passmore also calls on the Florida Legislature to step in and protect consumers from some auto glass repair shops’ AOB abuse.
To read the full release, click here.
Classic half truth’s from PCI.
I have questions. If AOB “abuse” is fraud, who have they prosecuted for it? Does anyone know exactly what constitutes AOB fraud, and IF anyone has ever been prosecuted for it? Would a fraudster walk into a court of law if he was knowingly committing fraud, I wonder? If so, how easy could it be to catch the fraudsters?
Is the dramatic increase simply a sign that insurers aren’t properly paying claims? If not, then WHY would fraudulent claims, which should be easily defeated in court if they ARE fraudulent, drive up insurance costs? What avenues will consumer’s and businesses have to pursue insurance “short payments” on claims IF the legislature steps in?
What’s the difference between “assignment of rights” which most if not all policies specifically do NOT ALLOW, and “assignment of benefits” which are common in life insurance, and for banks and lending institutions using the insurance policy as collateral, effectively? Can an insurer be allowed to tell a consumer, or approve of how a consumer wants to spend the proceeds due him under a policy? If the insurer is paying the legitimate amount of a claim, how can they lose in court?
Home repairers seem to be using AOB’s as well, as are Auto Body Shops, which weren’t mentioned that I saw. Are ALL of these people committing fraud? If so, how difficult can it be to prosecute them? Does the PCI want to prosecute for AOB fraud, or for the legislature to CHANGE the law in Florida to ALLOW them to determine AOB’s, which seem to be indicating strongly that insurers are not properly reimbursing for claims, TO become a fraudulent act?
Enquiring minds want to know.