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The recent arrest of a Central Florida contractor underscores that assignment of benefits (AOB) abuse is continuing impact insurance policyholders across the state. Insurers commend Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis and the Bureau of Insurance Fraud investigators for taking this issue seriously in order to protect consumers. from those looking to take advantage of consumers in a vulnerable situation. However, this is yet another example of why lawmakers must address AOB abuse before it gets worse. First, it started with homeowners and now it’s rapidly growing on the auto glass repair side. According to the Florida Department of Financial Services, in 2006, approximately 400 auto glass AOB lawsuits were filed against auto insurers. In 2016, nearly 20,000 lawsuits were filed. Consumers are often approached at local car washes, gas stations, in parking lots, or even at their homes, and are offered cash rebates, gift cards, or steak dinners by scammers who claim they can work with the person’s insurance company on a free windshield replacement. The repair company convinces the consumer to sign an AOB authorization and, by doing so, the person essentially hands over all the rights and benefits of their insurance policy. Once the dishonest vendors have control of the insurance benefits, they team up with trial lawyers to inflate claims and then sue the insurance companies. Ultimately, those fake and inflated claims and lawsuits drive up the cost of auto insurance for everyone. Consumer advocates, real estate agents, construction contractors, insurance agents, and other business leaders have partnered to fight AOB abuse. Together, we will continue to urge lawmakers to take action in order to protect their constituents from this type of abuse. But we need your help. To spread the word on this AOB problem — tell your story today at fightfraud.today.