Florida is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, a tropical climate, and many other appealing features. Unfortunately, it is also home to a disturbing trend of insurance fraud with a select group of roofers and attorneys. In these instances, these roofers and attorneys are utilizing assignment-of-benefits (AOB) clauses in homeowners’ insurance policies to sue insurance companies for more than the actual cost of repair or, in some cases, for non-existent damage. This can be appealing to any homeowner willing to take part in this scam because they typically end up getting a new roof installed on their home for little to no cost.
Regular policyholders are being negatively impacted
The end result of these scams is that more insurers in Florida are refusing to cover roofs that may be 10 years or older. Oftentimes, these roofs are fully functional with no issues. With this said, the insurers are not concerned with whether these roofs have leaks or not. Instead, they know that these roofs are the most likely targets for the re-roofing scams being plotted by this group of roofers and attorneys. To minimize their risk and exposure, many insurers in Florida are simply opting to no longer cover these older roofs.
Needless to say, this is putting many normal, law-abiding policyholders in a tough position. In particular, not having roofing coverage as part of your home insurance can be particularly nerve-wracking during the typically active hurricane season that runs from June 1st through November 30th.
The numbers are actually quite staggering. According to data from the state Department of Financial Services, the state’s top 44 insurers faced a total of 44,325 lawsuits filed against insurers in Florida during the first six months of 2021. To put this figure in perspective, there were about 30,000 lawsuits filed during the same period in the three previous years. To put these figures another way, if these insurers were forced to cover all roofers older than 10 years old with these scams continuing, many of these companies would need to ultimately file for bankruptcy.
Needless to say, this is an area of heavy scrutiny right now. Of course, the hope is that there is significant reform that prevents these fraudulent contractors and attorneys from continuing to commit these crimes. Unfortunately as is often the case, many innocent policyholders end up feeling the detrimental effects of the acts of greed by others.
As a homeowner, it is important that you monitor your home’s roof to determine its overall condition and age. If you decide to re-roof your home, a standing seam metal roof is likely the best option when it comes to hurricane protection and longevity.
Are you looking to buy or sell a property in South Florida? Now more than ever, it is critical to have a qualified real estate team and the proper search tools behind you. At Live South Florida Realty, Inc., we have been a leader in the South Florida market for many years. Let our team of professionals assist you with buying or selling your piece of paradise today! In addition, our recently launched “Florida Home Search” app is now available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. With real-time MLS feeds, this app lets you set your own alerts to notify you as soon as a property meeting your needs hits the market. Furthermore, it will also let you know of recent closed sales in your area so that you may be even more educated on the market. Be sure to download this app for your smartphone or tablet today!