“The auto glass version of assignment of benefits (AOB) has got to be dealt with,” said Jimmy Patronis, chief financial officer for the state of Florida.
The concern over AOB has been a growing for insurers in Florida over the past few years and was the focal point in the latest installment of The Bottom Line, a video installment series from the Florida Chamber of Commerce. During the video David Hart, government and political relations executive vice president, spoke to Patronis about the current issues involving the auto glass portion of AOB in the state.
During the segment both men agreed that more progress is needed to prevent “fraudulent AOB auto glass claims.” Hart also mentioned the concern centered on auto insurance rates due a high amount of auto glass claims.
“We know from the floridascorecard.org that rates for auto insurance in Florida are ranked 48th, meaning they’re the third highest of the 50 states. I know we agree this is one area where if we can root out fraud we could help consumers and bring down those rates,” said Hart.
Patronis, though pleased with the efforts combatting fraudulent AOB claims thus far, is determined to keep pushing for policyholder awareness.
“My office is committed to it, and if we just reflect on 2006 where we had 400 some-odd lawsuits that were AOB related. This year we’re going to break 35,000. The lions’ share of that exploitation is the windshield glass fraud that takes place.” said Patronis.
Patronis also mentioned no one is exempt from being approached to have their windshield replaced, as he shared one of his experiences.
“It was a year ago in the Tampa Fairgrounds parking lot [when] I was approached by a windshield installing entity.”
Patronis says they were fishing for clients to sign up for AOB on windshield fraud.
“So nobody is immune to it, including me, and it’s going to be my mission to correct that, because at the end of the day I’m not looking out for the insurance companies, the attorneys, or the contractors. I’m looking out for the policy holder. As long as we’re doing everything we can to empower and protect the policy holder I think everything else takes care of itself,” said Patronis.