As a storm damage restoration contractor you may have heard of an Assignment of Benefits (“AOB”) through various forums like Storm Ventures Group, or maybe from another restoration contractor peer in the industry. One thing is certain, there’s a lot of chatter about this topic right now and you’d be wise to look into it for yourself. That is, if your state allows it.
What is an AOB?
An AOB in its simplest form is a document that, once signed, allows a contractor to stand in the shoes of the policyholder as it strictly pertains to the indicated claim. AOB’s can vary in complexity from referencing specific types of work to transferring all claim benefits.
What can we learn from the medical industry?
AOBs have been used in the medical industry for years to expedite treatment.
Think of the last time you went to the doctor. Did you submit a request to have the doctor treat you and then have to wait for approval before receiving treatment? Not likely. Were you assigned a claims adjuster who diagnosed you and then advised how much money they would give your chosen doctor for the treatment? Nope.
Instead, the doctor provided you with treatment and through the use of an AOB had the right to work directly with the carrier. And if they received any lowball payouts from the carrier the doctor could dispute and escalate the claim without being forced to work through you, the policyholder, at every turn.
Doesn’t this sound like a dream?
We agree it sounds like a game changer but It’s definitely not a dream. In fact, AOBs are now being utilized in the processes of many restoration contractors. It is exactly the type of relationship we all want to have with the insurance company! One that doesn’t burden the policyholder while at the same time enabling us to efficiently obtain proper payout for the scope of work being executed.
The carriers of course don’t want to see this standard practice increase in momentum but it’s a state-by-state fight and if your state allows it then you should be doing it!
What can you expect from using AOBs?
While an AOB isn’t perfect it will expedite the results with reasonable adjusters and provide you with some terrific options when dealing with unruly ones. Our team has witnessed the following benefits of using AOBs by watching contractors who have used them.
→ Your company endorsed on the loss draft checks
→ Receive a copy of the adjuster’s estimate directly
→ A dramatic drop in “lost” deals
→ A more proactive attitude by the adjuster during adjustments
→ Gain leverage while supplementing
→ The right to directly hire a PA, invoke appraisal or litigate
AOB’s bolster results through Aftermath’s escalation processes
We are avid proponents of using an AOB for the significant advantages it gives us during the supplementing process. Specifically, the AOB allows our supplementing teams to more easily drive escalation contingencies like DOI complaints, supervisor file review requests or re-inspection demands including adjuster reassignments. We call this first layer of conflict resolution tactics, Low-Level Escalation (or LLE). However, if these tactics don’t get results then the AOB also acts as a bridge giving access to what we call High-Level Escalation (or HLE). This stage is where we leverage Aftermath’s network of appraiser’s, Public Adjusters and attorneys who are very eager to bring justice to each claim.
If you are interested in learning more about how to implement AOBs into your client onboarding process please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can even provide you with a free AOB template that we use for most states. Feel free to also review some of the results we are providing our clients.
Contributor: Aaron Cutler