The Restoration Industry Association's Advocacy and Government Affairs Committee continues pushing forward with efforts to level the playing field between restoration contractors and the insurance industry as a whole. In addition to a recently released position paper, there is a lot of work being done on the hot topic of Assignment of Benefits, and unique training opportunities available through the new AGA Academy.
Pricing Position Paper: Deviation from Standardized Price Lists
In mid-May, the AGA officially released its first restoration pricing position statement, following previous releases of statements regarding TPAs and TPCs. The latest position statement deals with "Deviation from Standardized Price Lists." The AGA's stance, which is designed to represent the restoration industry as a whole, is "Insurance carriers and their partners should not prohibit deviations from standardized price lists."
RIA members can view and download all position statements by logging into the RIA website.
Assignment of Benefits
The AGA, in partnership with another restoration industry partner, is assembling a 50-state summary on Assignment of Benefits (AOB) laws. The Restoration Advocate, Ed Cross, commented during the April AGA Committee meeting that AOBs are enforceable pretty much anywhere, and there is a goal for AOBs to be honored by most adjusters by the end of 2021.
In an update on the RIA website, Cross defines AOBs as "a transfer of the legal title to a portion of an insurance claim over to a service provider. When someone has a loss on their property and they make a claim using their insurance policy, that claim can be transferred to another party. This allows contractors to control their own destinies and make legal claims directly against insurance companies who fail to pay the fair market value for restoration work, or insist on using standardized price lists as universal pricing. Xactware has repeatedly made clear that its pricing data is not intended to be used as global pricing and that contractors should set their own prices."
According to Cross, there are three pieces to AOBs:
- Assigning benefits. (Note: work authorizations are not considered AOBs)
- Assignment of right to go to appraisal.
- Assignment of right to sue the insurance company for bad faith claims and breach of policy.
The AGA is looking to reduce the polarization on this topic, and wants to encourage everyone in the claims process to view AOBs as the same as assigning medical benefits to a doctor, who is able to directly bill insurance for claims and get paid accordingly.
Be on the lookout for a book on AOBs coming out soon, as well as the 50-state summary mentioned above.
2021 Restoration Convention & Industry Expo
In addition to celebrating the RIA's 75th anniversary, this year's Restoration Convention and Industry Expo will feature one-of-a-kind learning opportunities, including the AGA Academy led by Cross. The academy this year will cover AOBs and some other hot-button issues affecting restoration contractors today.
Plus, current RIA President Mark Springer will host a town hall with fellow industry leaders and peers to discuss tremendous work RIA has been doing on behalf of restorers. This will include more details on AGA initiatives.
This year's convention will take place June 28-30 in Kissimmee, Fla. You can learn more and register by clicking here. Don't wait to register as the event is expected to completely sell out this year.
Other AGA Updates
A few other items of note from the April AGA meeting:
- Be on the lookout for a new TPA scorecard coming soon.
- The AGA will soon be forming a Legislative Taskforce and is looking for volunteers who are analytical and detail-oriented.