Why Mold Remediation Companies Have to Battle a Bad Industry Reputation…

If you’re a business owner within the restoration industry, like myself, there isn’t a day that goes by when you find yourself having to prove that you aren’t one of those “corrupt restoration companies”. Does it bother me that I have to play the roll of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, nearly 5 days a week? Not at all! Would I prefer to walk into my office, slap a big red easy button and focus on other tasks at hand - for sure!

Alright, so enough with the silly references above. So, why do Mold Remediation Companies have such a bad industry reputation? Well, it’s phone calls similar to the one I received on Thursday, that pretty much summarize the events that lead to the stigma that all Mold Remediation Companies are only in the business for self gain. A lovely woman called our office, informing me that she came across our company name a few weeks back - at 1:30am to be specific. Why is this time frame important? Because she wasn’t getting sleep, staying up at night wondering if the company she had working in her home locked up after they left, employed workers with malicious tendencies, were doing what they said they were going to do, etc.

For the sake of time here, I’ll spare you the small talk throughout our conversation. Some of the big takeaways was her perception of the insurance claim process, following damages that she suffered to her home. For one reason or another, this woman decided to hire a PA (Public Adjuster). Don’t get ahead of me here, as there is absolutely nothing wrong with hiring a PA to assist with an insurance claim. In fact, I often recommend it, with the shift that I’ve personally seen with the tactics that some (not all) insurance carriers employ. With hiring the public adjuster, a Mold Remediation Contractor was recommended (nothing wrong with this process thus far).

Flash forward to the commencement of the Mold Remediation Service and the company used begins tearing apart just about everything in this woman’s home, according to her. Upon completion of the work, a licensed Mold Assessment Company came in to confirm that the Mold Remediation Service was successfully performed. They were there to make sure the home was returned back to a satisfactory or better state. This is where the process gets out of hand, as it took 5 instances of the Mold Remediation Company coming back to perform further work, in order to successfully complete the service. As a result of the additional expenses incurred for assessments by the Mold Remediation Contractor, they had the audacity to ask the homeowner to pay a portion of her invoice - despite engaging in an Assignment of Benefits, whereby the service company will wait to collect from an insurance carrier. Fun fact: All reputable Mold Remediation Contractors should incur the costs for re-testing (additional assessments) until the service is successfully completed. There are instances in which this is not the case, but these are rare.

As I wrapped up my phone conversation with this woman, she mentioned that she looked into the Mold Remediation Company after the fact to find that they did not have stellar reviews. She also mentioned that there were numerous instances in which the company left her property unlocked - occasionally leaving doors and windows opened to the outdoor elements. Absolutely no regard for the homeowner and her belongings! If you’re a homeowner reading this blog post, the point that I would like to get across is to trust, but verify. The Mold Remediation Industry, is a major referral business - as is much of the construction industry. While there are still companies, such as ourselves, that refer business with the best of client intentions in mind, not everyone shares the same interests. Do your homework. Check online resources for company information. Establish communication with referred contractors before you simply invite them into your home. I will include a couple of links to reputable websites, where you can verify contractor licensing and reputation, as well as file complaints below.

Verify a license: https://www.myfloridalicense.com/wl11.asp?mode=0&SID=

Verify reputation/ File a complaint: https://www.bbb.org/

Reform is Here For Florida Assignment of Benefits (AOB) Regarding Property Claims

For those of us who are restoration contractors, we had a feeling that this day may come. If you’re not in the mold remediation and water damage repair industry, there are some changes that you need to know about the assignment of benefits - as this will change the insurance claims process that you may have been used to in the past.

Before we get into the AOB Reform Bill that was passed yesterday (04/24/2019), let’s make sure we’re all on the same page - as to what the assignment of benefits actually is. According to the Florida Division of Consumer Services, “An AOB gives the third party authority to file a claim, make repair decisions and collect insurance payments without your involvement“. So, what does this mean in the restoration industry? Well, if you have a pipe leak and proceed to hire a remediation professional by signing an AOB, that company now has the right to file a claim on your behalf and even be paid directly. Sound scary to you? It shouldn’t, but it could have been when greed is the motivational factor behind having you sign such a document.

Before we go any further, you may be wondering where I stand on the use of the assignment of benefits within our industry. Well… my company has utilized an AOB only twice in nearly a decade of operation. Does this mean I’m against it? Absolutely not! Like anything in life, I feel there is value when used properly. An example of this would be when a homeowner is not in a position to afford an emergency service. What I am against is the selection of contractors that have abused the AOB, and required homeowners to sign over their rights to work that was yet to be performed. The leverage that a contractor then possesses is unfair to the homeowner - as they lose the right to hire other contractors for upcoming services that are part of the claim.

Ok, so now that you know that myself and our company is split down the middle with the usage of the Assignment of benefits, here’s what changes you need to be aware of, according to the Restoration Association of Florida…

Changes to Florida’s Assignment of Benefits (AOB) for Property Claims:

  • $3,000 or 1% of coverage A: Cap on emergency repairs

  • Allows for 14 day rescission period of AOB.

  • Allows for policies to be sold that do not allow an assignment, at a lower cost.

  • Provides that you must turn in your AOB within 3 days with a detailed estimate of costs.

  • Lastly, the attorney fee structure has been amended, no longer allowing Restoration contractors the ability to recoup attorney’s fees.

Overall, I don’t think there are very many contractors, consumers or insurance professionals out there that would disagree that the AOB required some level of reform - but this extent of revision will certainly change the way in which the contractor and consumer work together. There will no longer be a simple “sign and move forward” process. More discussions will have to be had relating to proposed services, following water and mold damage. While not necessarily a bad thing, homeowners will need to understand that contractors now have their hands tied the second an estimate reaches the $3,000 mark with emergency services. Financial plans on how to handle the workload beyond this point will be a topic of interest for both the contractor and consumer

Assignment of Benefits (AOB) Sources:

Division of Consumer Services: https://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/Consumers/AssignmentofBenefits.htm

Restoration Association of Florida: https://raflorida.org