When navigating the complex world of insurance claims, it’s essential for contractors to be aware of the options available to them. Three commonly encountered terms in this realm are Assignment of Benefits (AOB), Assignment of Policy, and Direction to Pay (DTP). Understanding the differences between these three concepts can significantly impact a policyholder’s level of involvement and control throughout the claims process.
Assignment of Benefits forms, also known as AOBs, play a crucial role in the restoration industry’s contractor-client dynamics. These legal documents empower policyholders to transfer their insurance policy benefits to a third party, effectively connecting their restoration contractor directly to their insurance company. By doing so, policyholders can bypass many of the complications and anxieties typically associated with a restoration project, streamlining the process.
According to Josh Ehmke, Co-owner and General Consult at One Claim Solution, there’s a common misunderstanding between assignment of benefits and assignment of policy. An assignment of policy refers to the transfer of the benefits and rights of an insurance policy from one party (the policyholder) to another party (the assignee).
“An assignment of policy is never going to be valid. In fact, I haven’t come across a state that allows an assignment of an insurance policy without the insurance company’s prior written consent,” Josh said. “The reason it’s not allowed is because it’s against public policy. It increases the insurance risk substantially.”
For example, a policyholder might have a history of filing numerous claims against their insurance provider, suggesting a pattern that they might be well-versed in exploiting certain loopholes and taking advantage of insurance companies. Additionally, there are concerns that they may not adequately maintain or safeguard their property, leading to an increased risk for the insurance company.
“That is absolutely different from an assignment of benefits, which grants the rights the policyholder had to the payment under the policy to be transferred to the assignee,” Josh said. ”The only prerequisite for an assignment of benefits other than having a covered claim, is that the loss has already occurred. If you get an assignment of benefits before the loss occurs, that’s essentially a transfer of a policy.”
OCS recently encountered a case where the question arose regarding the scope of an assignment of benefits. Specifically, the issue was whether only the rights of the policyholder are transferred, or if the policyholder’s obligations are also transferred alongside the benefits under the assignment.
“By taking the assignment, the contractor doesn’t assume the policyholder’s obligations under that policy,” Josh said. “It’s very important to word your assignment of benefits appropriately to clearly state that you’re not agreeing to assume any of those policy obligations, and to specify which rights you want.”
Direction to pay (DTP) is a financial arrangement where the policyholder, who is entitled to receive an insurance claim payment, instructs the insurance company to pay the claim proceeds directly to a third party. This third party could be a vendor, contractor, service provider, or any other entity to whom the policyholder owes a debt or has entered into an agreement.
“The issue with direction to pay is that the carrier doesn’t have to honor it because it’s not enforceable,” Josh said. “It’s very limited in what it can do, whereas an assignment of benefits is much more powerful because it obligates the insurance company legally to pay you.”
According to Josh, DTP’s are rarely used, except in states like Texas and Florida where AOBs are detrimental to contractors or illegal.
“A DTP is better than nothing and allows you to at least show the carrier that the homeowner granted approval to request payment,” Josh said. “But outside of those situations, the direction to pay in my mind is worthless. When you can have an assignment of benefits, there’s no reason to have a direction to pay at all.”
Understanding the differences between an AOB, Assignment of Policy, and DTP is crucial because each term represents distinct legal and financial arrangements that can significantly impact insurance claims and policyholder rights. To learn more about the value of assignment of benefits in helping you navigate the restoration process, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.
Hi there! I’m Connor, the Account Executive for One Claim. My goal is to guide our contractors through the sales process, ensuring you’re equipped with all the information you need to make your decision and hit the ground running once aboard. We view ourselves as an extension of your business and I strive to make the process an enlightening and consultative one.
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Hello, my name is Cam, I’m the COO of One Claim Solution! I come from a management consulting background (Bain & Company) and hold an MBA from the University of Michigan. I have worked at a wide variety of organizations, from Fortune 500 to small-cap, in an equally wide variety of industries. I have over 15 years of experience in operations and strategic growth, and I have spent much of my career focused on developing high-performing tech-enabled service organizations through early stage and high growth phases.
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Hello, my name is Dan, and I am the CEO of One Claim Solution. I am super excited by everything we are doing at OCS to be the market leading insurance billing specialist that advocates on behalf of our restoration contractors.
My professional experiences are predominantly corporate in nature. My career started at General Electric in finance and accounting. Immediately prior to joining OCS, I spent time as an investor at Bondcliff Partners and management consultant with Bain & Company. I also hold an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and got my BS in finance and accounting from Northeastern University.
Outside of the office, I enjoy spending time with my wife, two young children, and our family dog, Whiskey. We live in Charleston, SC and take advantage of the beautiful weather by spending as much time as possible outside at the beach or adventuring around town
Hi, I’m Josh! In 2016, I co-founded One Claim Solution with my partner Jeremy Traasdahl, and I serve as General Counsel of One Claim Solution. Working in the restoration industry, Jeremy and I saw contractors struggling to get paid quickly and fairly and we knew there was a need for change. We founded One Claim Solution to be this change and it’s been my privilege to see our company grow and to advocate for our clients as general counsel.
Outside of my passion for helping the restoration industry, I enjoy spending time outdoors, fly-fishing, hunting, skiing, and coaching my kids’ baseball teams. I’ve been married to my amazing wife for 20 years and we have a beautiful family of 5 children.
Hey, I’m Jeremy! In 2016, I co-founded One Claim Solution with my partner Josh Ehmke. Working in the restoration industry, Josh and I saw contractors struggling to get paid quickly and fairly and we knew there was a need for change. We founded One Claim Solution to be this change and it’s been my privilege to lead our amazing team.
Prior to One Claim Solution, I started my career as an inside sales rep for Avnet, then moved to Pepsico as a district sales manager. Outside of work, I love spending time with my wife and four children, two boys and two girls!