Want to Get Paid?
by Harvey Cohen
It happens everyday, thousand and thousands of times a day. You do a
windshield replacement job using the best products and the utmost care.
You and your staff have been trained to always think of safety first and
you comply with the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS). You
bill the insurance company in accordance with pricing suggested by National
Auto Glass Specifications International (NAGS).
And then, lo and behold, the insurance company sends you a check for only
60 percent of the amount you billed. What do you do now? What are your
The answer depends on whether or not you used an assignment or work authorization.
Using an AOB
A large percentage of work by auto glass businesses is billed to insurance
companies, and if you want to own these claims, you must utilize an insurance
assignment of benefits (AOB). An assignment allows you to step into the
shoes of the insured. Now the insurance claim is yours to pursue. You
own the rights and benefits under the contract. Remember, there is a difference
between assigning an insurance policy and an insurance claim. Generally,
insurance policies are not assignable. For example, if you buy my house
or my car, I cannot “assign” you the insurance policy on that property.
You must purchase your own policy. However, in most states, you can assign
your rights and benefits under a policy. This includes the right to be
paid directly by the insurance company and the right to sue if the insurance
company does not pay you in full.
Some states, including Florida, have a “fee-shifting” statute. That means
that if you have a claim and you are forced to hire an attorney to collect
from the insurance company and you win, the insurance company has to pay
your claim in full, plus interest when applicable, and all your reasonable
attorney fees and costs. It is a win-win for the auto glass industry.
For an assignment to be effective, it must be signed by the policyholder
or an authorized representative. The assignment must assign all rights
and benefits under the policy. There is no specific language required,
but the assignor must make some clear statement of intent to assign clearly
identified contractual rights to the assignee.
It is a two-step process. First you get the assignment of benefits and
then, if you win your dispute with the insurance company, the insurance
company must pay your claim, plus interest (when applicable) and reasonable
What does this mean to you? It means huge profits to your bottom lines.
For example, if your billings are $1,000,000 per year and the average
insurance company deduction is 25 percent off NAGS, you could make an
additional $250,000 for doing the same amount of work.
Harvey Cohen is a partner in the law firm of Cohen Battiste in
Winter Park, Fla. Mr. Cohen’s opinions are solely his own and not
necessarily those of this magazine.
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