Handling Assignment of Benefit (“AOB”) Claims in the Wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey

Overview | Blog Posts | First-Party Coverage | Timothy Engelbrecht , T. Nicholas Goanos , L. Andrew Watson | Related | Print | Share

Timothy Engelbrecht

Partner | First-Party Coverage , Extra-Contractual 813-281-1900 [email protected]

T. Nicholas Goanos

Partner | Extra-Contractual , Arson & Fraud , Casualty Defense Litigation , Third-Party Coverage , First-Party Coverage 704-940-9811  [email protected]

L. Andrew Watson

Partner | First-Party Coverage , Extra-Contractual , Casualty Defense Litigation , Arson & Fraud , Third-Party Coverage 704-543-2321 [email protected]

September 12, 2017

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey have damaged large areas of Florida, Texas, and Louisiana, as well as brought heavy rain and wind to Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. As insurers handle thousands of property damage claims in these areas, they will undoubtedly be presented with claims that have been assigned from insureds to damage-repair contractors. These are often referred to as assignments of benefits or “AOB” claims. This article explains briefly what an AOB claim is, how Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina address AOB claims, and the best practices for handling AOB claims.

WHAT IS AN AOB CLAIM?

The classic example of an AOB claim is the following: an insured suffers property damage and hires a repair contractor to repair that damage. The repair contractor requires the insured to execute a written document, usually entitled “Assignment of Insurance Benefits”, which says something to the effect of “for and in consideration of the contractor’s agreement to protect the property from further damage and/or make repairs, the insured assigns his/her/its insurance benefits to the contractor.” The contractor thereafter makes a claim directly to the insurer using the AOB.

HOW DOES FLORIDA, TEXAS, LOUISIANA, GEORGIA, NORTH CAROLINA, AND SOUTH CAROLINA ADDRESS AOB CLAIMS?

Florida  has allowed AOB claims for over 100 years. Sec. First Ins. Co. v. State, Office of Ins. Regulation , 177 So. 3d 627, 628 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015). Post-loss property damage claims are freely assignable in Florida regardless of whether the insurer consents or not.   Start to Finish Restoration, LLC v. Homeowners Choice Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. , 192 So. 3d 1275, 1276 (Fla. 2d DCA 2016). An insurance policy that has a “non-assignment” clause only bars the assignment of the entire insurance policy, not an assignment of a post-loss insurance claim. Bioscience West, Inc. v. Gulfstream Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. , 185 So. 3d 638, 640-41 (Fla. 2d DCA 2016). 

Texas  has adopted the opposite approach to AOBs. The general rule in Texas is that an insured cannot assign an insurance claim if the insurance policy has a non-assignment clause. ARM Props. Mgmt. Group v. RSUI Indem . Co., 642 F.Supp.2d 592, 609-10 (W.D. Tex. 2009) relying on  Tex. Farmers Ins. Co. v. Gerdes , 880 S.W. 2d 215, 218 (Tex. App. 1994). This is true even if the non-assignment clause is general and broadly worded.

Louisiana  takes a hybrid approach to AOBs. Louisiana allows an insurer to place a clause in an insurance policy that prohibits post-loss assignments.   In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig ., 63 So. 3d 955, 962-63 (La. 2011). However, in order for such a clause to be enforceable, the clause must clearly and unambiguously express that it applies to post-loss assignments.   Id . The general and a broadly worded non-assignment clause that has traditionally appeared in most insurance policies is not sufficient. Id. 

Georgia , much like many of the States above and across the Country, permits AOBs.  See Santiago v. Safeway Ins. Co. , 196 Ga. App. 480, 481, 396 S.E.2d 506, 608 (App. Ct. 1990). Unlike North Carolina and South Carolina, which are discussed below, an assignee in Georgia may pursue his own extra-contractual claim only after first establishing a breach of the insurance policy.  Southern Gen. Ins. Co. v. Holt , 262 Ga. 267, 416 S.E.2d 274, 276-77 (1992). Further, before pursuing an extra-contractual claim, an assignee (or insured) in Georgia must provide the insurer an opportunity to “cure” the alleged “bad faith”. See  Ga. Code Ann. § 33-4-6.

Lastly,  North Carolina  and  South Carolina  also allow AOBs. In upholding the validity of an assignment, courts in these States have ruled not only that assignments of benefits are indeed valid, but also, that they are governed by each State’s general contract law. See e.g., Alaimo Family Chiropractic v. Allstate Ins. Co. , 155 N.C. App. 194, 197, 574 S.E.2d 496, 498 (App. Ct. 2002);  Gray v. State Farm Auto. Ins. Co. , 327 S.C. 646, 491 S.E.2d 272 (App. Ct. 1997). The “rubber” meets the proverbial “road”, though, when an extra-contractual claim is alleged. In North Carolina and South Carolina, a plaintiff may assert an extra-contractual claim, even if the insurer has not breached the insurance policy. See  Tadlock Painting Co. v. Maryland Cas. Co. , 322 S.C. 498, 473 S.E.2d 52 (1996);  Kielbania v. Indian Harbor Ins. Co., 2012 WL 3957926 (M.D.N.C. 2012). However, an assignee is limited in the sense that it may pursue only his own extra-contractual claim, and not the assignors.  Horton v. New S. Ins. Co. , 122 N.C. App. 265, 268, 468 S.E.2d 856, 858 (1996);  Davis v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. , 2015 WL 6163243, at *4 (D.S.C. 2015).

WHAT ARE THE BEST PRACTICES FOR HANDLING AN AOB CLAIM?

First, as noted above, an adjuster needs to know if the state law where the AOB claim is being made allows for AOB claims. 

Second, assuming the state allows for AOB claims, the adjuster needs to carefully read what the actual AOB document says. They are not all the same. Some AOBs assign the entire claim. Other AOBs only assign part of the claim. For example, imagine an insured’s property is damaged by water. The insured needs the water extracted and the structure rebuilt. An AOB might assign both the water extraction and the rebuild claim to a single contractor. Or, the insured might execute one AOB to a water extraction contractor and a separate AOB to a different rebuild contractor. Or, an insured might execute an AOB to a water extraction contractor and the insured will retain the remaining rights to make the rebuild claim. If the AOB is unclear what – exactly – is being assigned, it is important for the adjuster to speak with the insured and the contractor to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Third, the adjuster should speak to the insured to gather information necessary to understand and adjust the assigned claim. In Florida, an adjuster likely cannot require a contractor to perform the insurance policy’s post-loss conditions of giving documents, executing a sworn statement in proof of loss, or appearing for an examination under oath. Shaw v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co.,  37 So. 3d 329, 332-33 (Fla. 5th DCA 2010) disapproved on other grounds in  Nunez v. Geico Gen. Ins. Co. , 117 So. 3d 388 (Fla. 2013). However, the insured is still responsible for fulfilling those conditions even with regard to the assigned claim. Id. The insured’s failure to do so may bar the assigned claim. Id. 

Fourth, assuming payment will be made on the assigned claim, the adjuster should determine who will be listed on the settlement check. If there is a valid AOB, it may be improper to list the insured on the settlement check since the insured’s rights have been assigned to the contractor. Many AOBs will state that only the contractor be listed on the settlement check. However, it is good for an adjuster to confirm with the insured that the insured understands that he/she/it will not be listed on the settlement check. It is also important for the adjuster to correctly determine if a mortgagee needs to be listed on the settlement check. Situations vary depending on the nature of the work that the contractor is doing (damage prevention versus repair) and whether the work has been completed or is still to be done. The adjuster should discuss the situation with the insured, the contractor, and the mortgagee if the adjuster is at all unsure if the mortgagee needs to be on the settlement check.

Fifth, an adjuster should know whether an assigned claim can be resolved using the insurance policy’s appraisal provision. Appraisal can be an inexpensive and expedient way to resolve a claim. In Florida, an insurer usually can require a contractor with an assigned claim to go to appraisal if the insurance policy provides for the mandatory appraisal upon request.  Certified Priority Restoration v. State Farm Florida Ins. Co ., 191 So. 3d 961, 962 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).

Insurers will continue to be presented with AOB claims in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. We have been helping insurers and adjusters navigate the unique issues associated with AOB claims for many years. Please contact us if you have any questions or need assistance.

For any further questions, please contact Timothy Engelbrecht, T. Nicholas Goanos, or L. Andrew Watson.

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How Does Your Insurance Policy’s “Assignment of Benefits” Clause Affect You?

assignment of benefits south carolina

When homeowners suffer a property loss, one of the first things they do – even before they know the amount of coverage they will receive from their insurer – is call a contractor. The contractor looks at the damage, and estimates the likely cost of repairing the property. Maybe that estimate is greater than the coverage amount the homeowner expects the insurance company to pay out.

In this instance, the contractor will sometimes suggest that the homeowner enter into an “assignment of benefits” (AOB) arrangement. Under this side contract, the contractor agrees to accept as payment whatever the insurance company pays for the insured’s property loss claim.

Such AOB deals can be a major problem.

For one thing, most contractors know very little about insurance coverages and the art of negotiating optimal coverage payouts. The insurance company may initially offer $60K, for example, in a situation where an experienced public adjuster could have secured almost twice that amount. The contractor might take the $60K, and then discover that amount isn’t enough to get the repair job done properly. The contractor then must skimp and cut corners, resulting in a shoddy repair job for the unsuspecting homeowner.

At common law, insureds were prohibited from assigning their insurance policy benefits and other underlying rights. State legislatures, however, have allowed AOB, and many state courts will permit the assignment of insurance policies.

The problems stemming from AOB have led to a mountain of litigation and debates about whether it should be allowed at all. Insurance carriers are happy to allow AOB, because contractors present an easy mark and often accept low-ball claim offers. The contractors, meanwhile, are serving two masters – handling the insured’s claim, as well as taking money to do repairs. That’s exactly why the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) doesn’t allow contractors to be PAs and do this type of work.

We recently spoke with Brian Goodman, General Counsel of NAPIA, who calls the practice of AOB “ripe with the possibility of harming consumers and making it so the insured never gets properly indemnified.”  We agree.

NAPIA is working with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to eradicate the practice of AOB. There is some resistance because of an unwillingness to infringe on an individual’s right to contract with somebody. But, in our view, any use of AOB really harms consumers.

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Consumer Insight

assignment of benefits south carolina

Sept. 13, 2023

Assignment of Benefits: Consumer Beware

You've just survived a severe storm, or a tornado and you've experienced some extensive damage to your home that requires repairs, including the roof. Your contractor is now asking for your permission to speak with your insurance company using an Assignment of Benefits. Before you sign, read the fine print. Otherwise, you may inadvertently sign over your benefits and any extra money you’re owed as part of your claim settlement.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers information to help you better understand insurance, your risk and what to do in the event you need repairs after significant storm damage.

Be cautious about signing an Assignment of Benefits. An Assignment of Benefits, or an AOB, is an agreement signed by a policyholder that allows a third party—such as a water extraction company, a roofer or a plumber—to act on behalf of the insured and seek direct payment from the insurance company.  An AOB can be a useful tool for getting repairs done, as it allows the repair company to deal directly with your insurance company when negotiating repairs and issuing payment directly to the repair company. However, an AOB is a legal contract, so you need to understand what rights you are signing away and you need to be sure the repair company is trustworthy.

  • With an Assignment of Benefits, the third party, like a roofing company or plumber, files your claim, makes the repair decision and collects insurance payments without your involvement.
  • Once you have signed an AOB, the insurer only communicates with the third party and the other party can sue your insurer and you can lose your right to mediation.
  • It's possible the third party may demand a higher claim payment than the insurer offers and then sue the insurer when it denies your claim.
  • You are not required to sign an AOB to have repairs completed. You can file a claim directly with your insurance company, which allows you to maintain control of the rights and benefits provided by your policy in resolving the claim.

Be on alert for fraud. Home repair fraud is common after a natural disaster. Contractors often come into disaster-struck regions looking to make quick money by taking advantage of victims.

  • It is a good idea to do business with local or trusted companies. Ask friends and family for references.
  •  Your insurer may also have recommendations or a list of preferred contractors.
  • Always get more than one bid on work projects. Your adjuster may want to review estimates before you make repairs.

Immediately after the disaster, have an accurate account of the damage for your insurance company when you file a claim.

  • Before removing any debris or belongings, document all losses.
  • Take photos or video and make a list of the damages and lost items.
  • Save damaged items if possible so your insurer can inspect them, some insurance companies may have this as a requirement in their policy.

Most insurance companies have a time requirement for reporting a claim, so contact your agent or company as soon as possible. Your  state insurance department  can help you find contact information for your insurance company, if you cannot find it.

  • Insurance company officials can help you determine what damages are covered, start your claim and even issue a check to start the recovery process.
  • When reporting losses, you will need insurance information, current contact information and a  home inventory or list of damaged and lost property . If you do not have a list, the adjuster will give you some time to make one. Ask the adjuster how much time you have to submit this inventory list. The NAIC Post Disaster Claims Guide has details on what you can do if you do not have a home inventory list.

After you report damage to your insurance company, they will send a claims adjuster to assess the damage at no cost to you . An adjuster from your insurance company will walk through and around your home to inspect damaged items and temporary repairs you may have made.

  • A public adjuster is different from an adjuster from your insurance company and has no ties to the insurance company.
  • They estimate the damage to your home and property, review your insurance coverage, and negotiate a settlement of the insurance claim for you.
  • Many states require public adjusters to be licensed. Some states prohibit public adjusters from negotiating insurance claims for you. In those states, only a licensed attorney can represent you.
  • You have to pay a public adjuster.
  • The NAIC Post Disaster Claims Guide has information on the different types of adjusters.

Once the adjuster has completed an assessment, they will provide documentation of the loss to your insurer to determine your claims settlement. When it comes to getting paid, you may receive more than one check. If the damage is severe or you are displaced from your home, the first check may be an emergency advance. Other payments may be for the contents of your home, other personal property, and structural damages. Please note that if there is a mortgage on your home, the payment for structural damage may be payable to you and your mortgage lender. Lenders may put that money into an escrow account and pay for repairs as the work is completed.

More information. States have rules governing how insurance companies handle claims. If you think that your insurer is not responding in a timely manner or completing a reasonable investigation of your claim, contact your  state insurance department .

About the National Association of Insurance Commissioners

As part of our state-based system of insurance regulation in the United States, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides expertise, data, and analysis for insurance commissioners to effectively regulate the industry and protect consumers. The U.S. standard-setting organization is governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer reviews, and coordinate regulatory oversight. NAIC staff supports these efforts and represents the collective views of state regulators domestically and internationally.

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2022 South Carolina Code of Laws Title 41 - Labor and Employment Chapter 35 - Employment And Workforce - Benefits And Claims Section 41-35-110. Conditions of eligibility for benefits.

An unemployed insured worker is eligible to receive benefits with respect to a week only if the department finds he:

(1) has made a claim for benefits with respect to that week pursuant to regulations prescribed by the department;

(2) has registered for work and after work has continued to report at an employment office, except that the department, by regulation, may waive or alter either or both of the requirements of this paragraph as to individuals attached to regular jobs; provided, that no regulation conflicts with Sections 41-35-10 or 41-35-30;

(3) is able to work and is available for work at his usual trade, occupation, or business or in another trade, occupation, or business for which he is qualified based on his prior training or experience; is available for this work either at a locality at which he earned wages for insured work during his base period or, if the individual has moved, to a locality where it may reasonably be expected that work suitable for him under the provisions of Section 41-35-120(3)(b) is available; and, in addition to having complied with subsection (2), is himself actively seeking work; provided, however:

(a) notwithstanding another provision of Chapters 27 through 41 of this title, an otherwise eligible individual may not be denied a benefit with respect to a week in which he is in training with the approval of the department by reason of the application of the provision of this section relating to availability for work and an active search for work;

(b) a claimant may not be eligible to receive a benefit or waiting period credit if engaged in self-employment of a nature to return or promise remuneration in excess of the weekly benefit amounts he would have received if otherwise unemployed over this period of time;

(c) no claimant shall be eligible to receive benefits or waiting period credit following the completion of a temporary work assignment unless the claimant shows that he informed the temporary employment agency that provided the assignment of the assignment's completion, has maintained on-going weekly contact with the agency after completion of the assignment, and that the agency has not provided a subsequent assignment for which the claimant's prior training or experience shows him to be fitted or qualified;

(4) has been unemployed for a waiting period of one week, but a week may not be counted as a week of unemployment for the purposes of this paragraph:

(a) unless it occurs within the benefit year that included the week with respect to which he claims payment of a benefit;

(b) if a benefit has been paid with respect to it; and

(c) unless the individual was eligible for a benefit with respect to it as provided in this section and Section 41-35-120, except for the requirements of this item (4) and of item (5) of Section 41-35-120;

(5) has separated, through no fault of his own, from his most recent bona fide employer; provided, however, the term "most recent bona fide employer" means the work or employer from which the individual separated regardless of work subsequent to his separation in which he earned less than eight times his weekly benefit amount; and

(6) participates in reemployment services, such as job search assistance services, if he is determined to be likely to exhaust regular benefits and need a reemployment service pursuant to a profiling system established by the department, unless the department determines:

(a) the individual has completed such services; or

(b) there is justifiable cause for the claimant's failure to participate in those services.

HISTORY: 1962 Code Section 68-113; 1952 Code Section 68-113; 1942 Code Section 7035-84; 1936 (39) 1716; 1939 (41) 487; 1941 (42) 369; 1949 (46) 264; 1955 (49) 480; 1969 (56) 268; 1971 (57) 950; 1982 Act No. 340, Section 2; 1994 Act No. 497, Part II, Section 141, eff June 29, 1994; 2010 Act No. 146, Section 75, eff March 30, 2010.

Effect of Amendment

The 1994 amendment added paragraph (6).

The 2010 amendment substituted "department" for "Commission" throughout this section; added subparagraph (3)(c), relating to temporary work assignments; and made other nonsubstantive changes throughout the section.

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Assignment of Benefits for Contractors: Pros & Cons of Accepting an AOB

assignment of benefits south carolina

22 articles

Insurance , Restoration , Slow Payment

An illustrated assignment of benefits form in front of a damaged house

When a property owner files an insurance claim to cover a restoration or roofing project, the owner typically deals directly with the insurance company. They may not have the funds available to pay the contractor out of pocket, so they’re counting on that insurance check to cover the construction costs.

But insurance companies often drag their feet, and payments can take even longer than normal. Contractors often wish they could simply deal with the insurance company directly through an assignment of benefits. In some circumstances, an AOB can be an effective tool that helps contractors collect payment faster — but is it worth it?

In this article, we’ll explain what an assignment of benefits is, and how the process works. More importantly, we’ll look at the pros and cons for restoration and roofing contractors to help you decide if an AOB is worth it . 

What is an assignment of benefits? 

An assignment of benefits , or AOB, is an agreement to transfer insurance claim rights to a third party. It gives the assignee authority to file and negotiate a claim directly with the insurance company, without involvement from the property owner. 

An AOB also allows the insurer to pay the contractor directly instead of funneling funds through the customer. AOBs take the homeowner out of the claims equation.

Here’s an example: A property owner’s roof is damaged in a hurricane. The owner contacts a restoration company to repair the damage, and signs an AOB to transfer their insurance rights to the contractor. The contractor, now the assignee, negotiates the claim directly with the insurance company. The insurer will pay the claim by issuing a check for the repairs directly to the restoration contractor. 

Setting up an AOB

A property owner and contractor can set up an assignment of benefits in two steps: 

  • The owner and the contractor sign an AOB agreement
  • The contractor sends the AOB to the insurance company

Keep in mind that many states have their own laws about what the agreement can or should include .

For example, Florida’s assignment of benefits law contains relatively strict requirements when it comes to an assignment of benefits: 

  • The AOB agreements need to be in writing. The agreement must contain a bolded disclosure notifying the customer that they are relinquishing certain rights under the homeowners policy. You can’t charge administrative fees or penalties if a homeowner decides to cancel the AOB. 
  • The AOB must include an itemized, per-unit breakdown of the work you plan to do. The services can only involve how you plan to make repairs or restore the home’s damage or protect the property from any further harm. A copy must be provided to the insurance company. 
  • A homeowner can rescind an AOB agreement within 14 days of signing, or within 30 days if no work has begun and no start date was listed for the work. If a start date is listed, the 30-day rule still applies if substantial progress has not been made on the job. 

Before signing an AOB agreement, make sure you understand the property owner’s insurance policy, and whether the project is likely to be covered.

Learn more: Navigating an insurance claim on a restoration project

Pros & cons for contractors

It’s smart to do a cost-benefit analysis on the practice of accepting AOBs. Listing pros and cons can help you make a logical assessment before deciding either way. 

Pro: Hiring a public adjuster

An insurance carrier’s claims adjuster will inspect property damage and arrive at a dollar figure calculated to cover the cost of repairs. Often, you might feel this adjuster may have overlooked some details that should factor into the estimate. 

If you encounter pushback from the insurer under these circumstances, a licensed, public adjuster may be warranted. These appraisers work for the homeowner, whose best interests you now represent as a result of the AOB. A public adjuster could help win the battle to complete the repairs properly. 

Pro: More control over payment

You may sink a considerable amount of time into preparing an estimate for a customer. You may even get green-lighted to order materials and get started. Once the ball starts rolling, you wouldn’t want a customer to back out on the deal. 

Klark Brown , Co-founder of The Alliance of Independent Restorers, concedes this might be one of the very situations in which an AOB construction agreement might help a contractor. “An AOB helps make sure the homeowner doesn’t take the insurance money and run,” says Brown.  

Klark Brown

Pro: Build a better relationship with the homeowner

A homeowner suffers a substantial loss and it’s easy to understand why push and pull with an insurance company might be the last thing they want to undertake. They may desire to have another party act on their behalf. 

As an AOB recipient, the claims ball is now in your court. By taking some of the weight off a customer’s shoulders during a difficult period, it could help build good faith and further the relationship you strive to build with that client. 

Learn more : 8 Ways for Contractors to Build Trust With a Homeowner

Con: It confuses payment responsibilities

Even if you accept an AOB, the property owner still generally bears responsibility for making payment. If the insurance company is dragging their feet, a restoration contractor can still likely file a mechanics lien on the property .

A homeowner may think that by signing away their right to an insurance claim, they are also signing away their responsibility to pay for the restoration work. This typically isn’t true, and this expectation could set you up for a more contentious dispute down the line if there is a problem with the insurance claim. 

Con: Tighter margins

Insurance companies will want repairs made at the lowest cost possible. Just like you, carriers run a business and need to cut costs while boosting revenue. 

While some restoration contractors work directly with insurers and could get a steady stream of work from them, Brown emphasizes that you may be sacrificing your own margins. “Expect to accept work for less money than you’d charge independently,” he adds. 

The takeaway here suggests that any contractor accepting an AOB could subject themselves to the same bare-boned profit margins. 

Con: More administrative work

Among others, creating additional administrative busywork is another reason Brown recommends that you steer clear of accepting AOBs. You’re committing additional resources while agreeing to work for less money. 

“Administrative costs are a burden,” Brown states. Insurers may reduce and/or delay payments to help their own bottom lines. “Insurers will play the float with reserves and claims funds,” he added. So, AOBs can be detrimental to your business if you’re spending more while chasing payments. 

Con: Increase in average collection period

Every contractor should use some financial metrics to help gauge the health of the business . The average collection period for receivables measures the average time it takes you to get paid on your open accounts. 

Insurance companies aren’t known for paying claims quickly. If you do restoration work without accepting an AOB, you can often take action with the homeowner to get paid faster. When you’re depending on an insurance company to make your payment, rather than the owner, collection times will likely increase.

The literal and figurative bottom line is: If accepting assignment of benefits agreements increases the time it takes to get paid and costs you more in operational expense, these are both situations you want to avoid. 

Learn more: How to calculate your collection effectiveness 

AOBs and mechanics liens

A mechanics lien is hands down a contractor’s most effective tool to ensure they get paid for their work. Many types of restoration services are protected under lien laws in most states. But what happens to lien rights when a contractor accepts an assignment of benefits? 

An AOB generally won’t affect a contractor’s ability to file a mechanics lien on the property if they don’t receive payment. The homeowner is typically still responsible to pay for the improvements. This is especially true if the contract involves work that wasn’t covered by the insurance policy. 

However, make sure you know the laws in the state where your project is located. For example, Florida’s assignment of benefits law, perhaps the most restrictive in the country, appears to prohibit an AOB assignee from filing a lien. 

Florida AOB agreements are required to include language that waives the contractor’s rights to collect payment from the owner. The required statement takes it even further, stating that neither the contractor or any of their subs can file a mechanics lien on the owner’s property. 

On his website , Florida’s CFO says: “The third-party assignee and its subcontractors may not collect, or attempt to collect money from you, maintain any action of law against you, file a lien against your property or report you to a credit reporting agency.”

That sounds like a contractor assignee can’t file a lien if they aren’t paid . But, according to construction lawyer Alex Benarroche , it’s not so cut-and-dry.

Alex Benarroche

“Florida’s AOB law has yet to be tested in court, and it’s possible that the no-lien provision would be invalid,” says Benarroche. “This is because Florida also prohibits no-lien clauses in a contract. It is not legal for a contractor to waive their right to file a lien via an agreement prior to performance.” 

Learn more about no-lien clauses and their enforceability state-by-state

Remember that every state treats AOBs differently, and conflicting laws can create additional risk. It’s important to consult with a construction lawyer in the project’s state before accepting an assignment of benefits. 

Best practices for contractors 

At the end of the day, there are advantages and disadvantages to accepting an assignment of benefits. While it’s possible in some circumstances that an AOB could help a contractor get paid faster, there are lots of other payment tools that are more effective and require less administrative costs. An AOB should never be the first option on the table . 

If you do decide to become an assignee to the property owner’s claim benefits, make sure you do your homework beforehand and adopt some best practices to effectively manage the assignment of benefits process. You’ll need to keep on top of the administrative details involved in drafting AOBs and schedule work in a timely manner to stay in compliance with the conditions of the agreement. 

Make sure you understand all the nuances of how insurance works when there’s a claim . You need to understand the owner’s policy and what it covers. Home insurance policy forms are basically standardized for easy comparisons in each state, so what you see with one company is what you get with all carriers. 

Since you’re now the point of contact for the insurance company, expect more phone calls and emails from both clients and the insurer . You’ll need to have a strategy to efficiently handle ramped-up communications since the frequency will increase. Keep homeowners and claims reps in the loop so you can build customer relationships and hopefully get paid faster by the insurer for your work.

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South Carolina Code 38-77-260. General release, assignment of claims, and like documents

(b) [Repealed]

Terms Used In South Carolina Code 38-77-260

  • Automobile insurer : means an insurer licensed to do business in South Carolina and authorized to issue automobile insurance policies. See South Carolina Code 38-77-30
  • Director : means the person who is appointed by the Governor upon the advice and consent of the Senate and who is responsible for the operation and management of the department. See South Carolina Code 38-1-20
  • Insurer : includes a corporation, fraternal organization, burial association, other association, partnership, society, order, individual, or aggregation of individuals engaging or proposing or attempting to engage as principals in any kind of insurance or surety business, including the exchanging of reciprocal or interinsurance contracts between individuals, partnerships, and corporations. See South Carolina Code 38-1-20
  • Obligation : An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
  • Person : means a corporation, agency, partnership, association, voluntary organization, individual, or another entity, organization, or aggregation of individuals. See South Carolina Code 38-1-20
  • Settlement : Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims.

(c) [Repealed]

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Assignment of Benefits, Part 8: North Carolina

The requests from our readers keep coming and in and this week we are taking a look at Assignment of Benefits (“AOBs”) in North Carolina.

AOBs are permitted in North Carolina, however there are several restrictions. First, concerning the AOB itself, the Courts have held that, “’[a]n action ‘arising out of contract’ generally can be assigned[ ]’ and the assignee may bring a breach of contract action.” 1 Next, where the policy includes an anti-assignment clause, the clause will be considered valid and the rights under the policy will not be assignable. 2

Additionally, even if you have a valid assignment and the policy doesn’t prohibit it, you are limited to filing suit on breach of contract only: “A claim for tortious, bad faith refusal to settle is more akin to an unassignable claim for unfair and deceptive trade practices than to an assignable claim of breach of contract. The allegations of bad faith make this claim personal to [] the insured. It may not be assigned.” 3

If you have any specific questions on AOBs or would like to see your state come up sooner, please comment below, or send me an email at [email protected].

As always, I’ll leave you with a (mildly) related tune, here’s North Carolina’s own Ben Folds Five with one of their lesser known singles, and one of my personal favorites, Army :

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National Politics | Trump is winning big with his base, but…

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By AMELIA THOMSON-DEVEAUX, LINLEY SANDERS and JOSH BOAK (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump appears close to invincible in the Republican primaries and caucuses, but despite his commanding victories, the front-runner’s strength among  general election  voters remains unclear.

AP VoteCast shows that Trump, the former president, has galvanized the core of the GOP electorate in  Iowa ,  New Hampshire  and  South Carolina . His voters so far are overwhelmingly white, mostly older than 50 and generally without a college degree. This, however, is very different than the electorate he could face in November, when he’d have to appeal to a far more diverse group and possibly win over supporters of  former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley . Her pull has been limited in the GOP primaries – but her candidacy may foreshadow problems for Trump.

AP VoteCast reveals that a large portion of Trump’s opposition within the Republican primaries is comprised of voters who abandoned him before this year.

It also highlights a Republican party that has made an about-face on central policy issues, favoring some big government programs and retreating from commitments abroad.

AP VoteCast is a series of surveys conducted among 1,597 Republican caucus voters in Iowa, 1,989 New Hampshire voters who took part in the Republican primary and 2,466 Republican primary voters in South Carolina. The surveys were conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Haley’s Coalition: Anti-Trump Republicans and 2020 Biden Voters

Haley was Trump’s lone major challenger by South Carolina, but the gauntlet of the early states highlighted the limitations of her campaign pitch.

Some of Haley’s supporters in New Hampshire and South Carolina were voters who told AP VoteCast they identified as Democrats or independents. More importantly, these voters tended to have backed Biden in 2020. In South Carolina and Iowa, about 4 in 10 Haley voters supported Biden nearly four years ago. Roughly half of her New Hampshire voters voted for Biden.

The challenge for Haley is that this group is a minority within the GOP. They constituted anywhere between 11% and 24% of GOP voters in each of the three contests, putting a low ceiling on her support. Many of Haley’s remaining supporters in each state said they voted third party or didn’t vote in the 2020 general election, also a distinct minority of voters in GOP nominating contests.

The Republican electorate remains overwhelmingly white

So far, almost all of Trump’s backing has come from white voters, who made up the vast majority of the electorate in the first few head-to-head Republican contests — even in diverse South Carolina. Those results give us few clues about whether Trump can cut into the margins that Democrats have traditionally enjoyed with Black and Hispanic voters.

Trump’s performance shows his resilience among voting groups that were strongly behind him in previous elections. Nearly 6 in 10 of the votes he received in 2020 came from white people without a college degree, a margin he exceeded in the first head-to-head primaries and caucuses. More than 6 in 10 of his voters in the early states were also over 50. Trump also maintained high levels of support with evangelical Christians and people living in small towns and rural areas, groups that have significant weight within Republican primaries but comprise a smaller share of the general electorate.

The new Republican Party

It’s official: The age of a small-government, hawkish Republican Party appears to have ended. Instead, Republican primary voters strongly support domestic policies that require significant government investment, like maintaining the current age of 67 for Social Security eligibility and building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. And they’re showing less enthusiasm for intervention in conflicts with traditional U.S. rivals like Russia.

In the lead-up to the primaries, Republican candidates clashed over these issues, testing whether long-held GOP positions like shrinking the size of entitlement programs and taking a strong hand in foreign conflicts still resonate with the party’s base. The result of the first head-to-head Republican contests shows how Trump has shaped today’s Republican Party.

Trump’s stances resonate strongly with his base: According to the three surveys, roughly 7 in 10 Trump voters support an end to continued aid to Ukraine, approximately 8 in 10 want to preserve Social Security as-is and about 9 in 10 want a wall along the U.S. southern border.

Trump’s hardest tests are yet to come

Trump has enjoyed a favorable audience in the Republican contests, one he won’t be able to count on in November if he wins the nomination.

And some potential weak spots for Trump are already showing. At least 2 in 10 of the voters in South Carolina’s Republican primary and the Iowa caucuses said they won’t back Trump in November, while approximately 3 in 10 in New Hampshire felt that way.

In each of the early states, Trump either lost or split voters with a college degree to Haley. Nor were the suburbs – where the plurality of general election voters live – particularly welcoming to him in this year’s GOP contests. He split the suburban vote with his opponents in Iowa and New Hampshire and won the suburbs in South Carolina by a smaller margin than in the state as a whole.

But those are just some of the challenges Trump will confront in the coming months – in the early states, anywhere between one-quarter and nearly 4 in 10 Republican voters say that he broke the law in one or more  of the criminal cases against him.

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5 Reasons to Retire in South Carolina

The fast-growing palmetto state is emerging as a retirement alternative to florida.

Patrick J. Kiger,

a couple sitting on their porch in beaufort, south carolina

When Bob Kraft and his wife, Joy, decided to retire in 2014, the longtime Cincinnati residents knew one thing about where they wanted to be.

“Neither my wife nor I are crazy about snow or cold weather,” says Kraft, a former newspaper reporter and editor who later worked in public relations and marketing.

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The couple considered various locales in the Southeast but gravitated to a familiar destination — Beaufort, a small town in South Carolina’s coastal Sea Islands, not far from where Kraft’s father bought a vacation home in the 1970s. “My wife and I honeymooned there,” he recalls.

A decade later, Kraft, now 72, says they’re still happy with the choice. The couple lives in Habersham, a waterfront planned community a few minutes from historic Beaufort with houses built in the graceful Lowcountry style. A community dock on the nearby Broad River gives the avid kayakers a place to store their watercraft.

Many older Americans are following a similar path. South Carolina ranked second to Florida as a destination for retirees making interstate moves in 2023, according to an annual review of U.S. Census data by moving-services marketplace Hire A Helper. United Van Lines’ 2023 National Movers Study found that nearly 27 percent of people moving to the Palmetto State did so for retirement, the third-highest proportion in the country.

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‘Slow and wonderful’

South Carolina has long been a haven for veterans who stay on after serving at one of the state’s eight military bases, says Pam Harrington, who has been a real estate agent in the Charleston area for more than four decades.  In recent years, she’s seen a surge in retirees moving in from elsewhere, helping drive a nearly 11 percent increase in the state’s population from 2010 to 2020.

What’s the attraction? “Life is slow and wonderful,” Harrington says. “You have the beach and boating and sailing and golf and all the things that people like to do when they retire.”

Those factors have helped position the Palmetto State as an alternative to Florida, perennially the prime destination for retirees seeking sunnier climes, says Philip Gibson, a certified financial planner and vice president of Wealth Enhancement Group in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

“It’s smaller, you're dealing with less traffic, it’s easier to get around,” he says. “And I'm not a weather expert, but you’ve got to suspect that summers are not as hot as in Florida.”

Here are five reasons retirees might consider settling in the Palmetto State.

As Gibson notes, South Carolina summers are plenty warm but not quite as sticky as Florida’s. The average daily high during Charleston’s hot season (late May to mid-September) is around 83 degrees, four degrees less than Miami’s average during roughly the same period, according to Weather Spark, a website that amasses climate data. But there’s also some seasonal variety, with Charleston averaging about 65 degrees from December to March, compared to 78 degrees in Miami.

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“We get frost now and then, which we jokingly call Southern snow,” says Andrew Lazar, 67, who moved with his wife, Lynn, from their native New Jersey to the Jimmy Buffett -themed retirement community Latitude Margaritaville in Hilton Head in 2020. “But a couple of days later it may be 70 and sunny, and a great day to hang out at the bar or go for a walk.”

Harrington says the mild but varying climate is a big draw. “In the last two weeks, I’ve worked with five or six people who live in Florida, and they want to come to South Carolina when they retire, because they want changes in the seasons,” she says. “We don’t have snow but do have a little bit of cold. In our winter, the leaves change, and the animals and birds change.”

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2. Outdoor recreation

The temperate climate and long coastline, with a lot of inlets, tributaries and islands, gives retirees ample opportunity to enjoy sailing, kayaking, fishing or just hanging out on the beach. And that need not mean fighting summer throngs for a patch of sand in Hilton Head or Myrtle Beach. Kraft, who has crisscrossed the state in his years there, says there are plenty of small, uncrowded beaches favored by locals. He’s partial to one nestled behind Fort Fremont Historical Preserve on St. Helena Island.

And then there’s the golf, for which South Carolina is world-famous. Hilton Head Island alone is home to more than two dozen championship courses, including designs by Jack Nicklaus and famed golf architects Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Pete Dye. With more than 90 courses, most of them public, Myrtle Beach’s Grand Strand “has been referred to as the Golf Capital of the World,” says Brandon Hill, a senior adviser at Beckett Financial Group in West Columbia.

assignment of benefits south carolina

3. Diverse landscapes

South Carolina has a couple of medium-size cities in Charleston and Columbia, the state capital, but it’s also got a lot of charming small towns and a variety of landscapes.

“South Carolina offers retirees options of having a home in mountainside towns, near lakes and rivers, or situated on oceanfront stretches,” says Stephanie Gordon, a real estate agent in Mount Pleasant. Age 55-plus communities are sprouting up, particularly around Charleston and in the growing nearby town of Summerville, she says.

A popular choice for retirees less enamored of the coast is Greenville, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the northwest corner of the state.

“A lot of large corporations have gone to Greenville, but there are a lot of retirees, too,” says Harrington. “You’re close to the mountains and a little bit cooler weather. It’s easy to get to other places from Greenville, and people tend to gravitate to the new golf developments up that area.” A booming restaurant scene built on local and regional specialties earned Greenville Southern Living’s designation as the South’s top destination for food lovers.

assignment of benefits south carolina

4. Lowcountry living (at a relatively low cost)

While home prices in both states have increased sharply over the last several years, the median home value in South Carolina — about $283,000 at the end of 2023, according to Zillow — is still a lot less than in Florida ($389,000). 

South Carolina has some of the lowest property tax rates in the U.S., with an effective rate of 0.52 percent, about half the national average, Hill says. It’s also one of a dozen states with a property tax exemption for homeowners ages 65 and over ; they can deduct $50,000 from their home’s taxable value.

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Cost gap aside, “it’s just a different product,” Harrington says, drawing retirees whose vision of home life runs more to a plantation-style house with stacked front porches than to a high-rise condo (“which they can also get here,” she’s quick to add).

In addition to the property tax break, South Carolina residents ages 65 and older can deduct up to $10,000 in retirement income, such as 401(k) distributions or pensions, from their state income tax (Social Security benefits are not taxed at all), and those 60 and up can take tuition-free classes at state colleges and universities.

5. History and culture

South Carolina is, of course, where the Civil War started, with the rebel attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861, but there are plenty of other things that make it singularly suited for retiree history buffs.

One of the last of the original 13 colonies to be settled (English settlers arrived in 1670 at what is now Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site ), the state saw more than 200 Revolutionary War battles and skirmishes, including the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780, where American forces won their first major victory over loyalist troops in the South. An interpretive trail at Kings Mountain National Military Park tells the story.

An estimated 40 percent of all enslaved Africans entered the country at Charleston Harbor. Their experience and legacy is illuminated at the International African American Museum , which opened in June 2023 at Gadsden’s Wharf, the disembarkation point for hundreds of thousands of captives.  One of its dozen permanent exhibitions is devoted to the Gullah Geechee peoples of the Sea Islands, whose unique language and culture can be more deeply explored along a heritage corridor stretching from the edge of North Carolina down the length of the South Carolina coast and south into Georgia and Florida.

The Krafts annually trek to Charleston for the Spoleto Festival USA , founded by famed composer Gian Carlo Menotti in 1977 as an American counterpart to the music festival he launched in Spoleto, Italy, 19 years earlier. “It has opera, theater, chamber and orchestral music, all held at venues all over Charleston,” Kraft says.

After a decade in Beaufort, Kraft has also become steeped in local lore, from how The Big Chill was filmed there to the story of Robert Smalls, an enslaved mariner who stole a Confederate cargo ship to sail his family to freedom and later returned to the town to take over his former master’s house and serve in Congress. “There’s a lot of history here,” he says.

One reason to think twice

Like Florida, South Carolina is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms. Six eastern counties span more than 200 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline, and their low elevation and high population density increase the potential for devastating storm damage.

With the high risk of major storms, “the average cost of home insurance in South Carolina runs approximately 10 to 20 percent higher than the U.S. average premium,” says Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications for the Insurance Information Institute. “Rates have increased 50 percent or more on average in coastal counties of South Carolina over the past year as homes in these areas are at the highest risk of property damage.”

Patrick J. Kiger is a contributing writer for AARP. He has written for a wide variety of publications, including the  Los Angeles Times Magazine,   GQ  and  Mother Jones , as well as the websites of the Discovery Channel and  National Geographic .

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15 States With the Worst Unemployment Benefits in 2024

I n this article, we will take a look at the 15 states with the worst unemployment benefits in 2024. If you would like to skip our discussion on the US economy, you can go to the 5 States With the Worst Unemployment Benefits in 2024 .

While headlines boast of a historically low national unemployment rate of 3.7% in 2023, there have been massive layoffs totaling 19.8 million during the last year as compared to 17.6 million layoffs in 2022. In January 2024, 82,307 job cuts were announced, which is an increase of 136% from December 2023.  Moreover, many different companies across the USA have announced job cuts this year in order to curtail rising costs amid uncertain economic conditions.  In fact, a survey conducted by The Conference Board revealed that 23% of the CEOs are planning to lay off employees in the next 12 months. This is 13% more than in the previous quarter.

The brunt of these layoffs is not evenly distributed across sectors. Technology companies, while navigating the current economic uncertainty, are witnessing a significant number of job cuts. In January 2024 alone, Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN ) announced 5% job cuts in its audiobooks and podcast division, 35% in the streaming unit, and several hundred in the streaming and studio operations. Meanwhile, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT ), Salesforce, Inc. (NYSE: CRM ), and Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG ) also announced hundreds of layoffs in the same month. So far, more than 140 companies in the tech space have laid off over 34,000 employees in 2024. In 2023, more than 1,160 tech companies laid off 262,000 employees. The major reason for the significant number of layoffs is the slowdown after the hiring spree within the sector in recent years.

Here's what Baron Funds said about Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) in its Q4 2023 investor letter:

"Amazon.com, Inc.  (NASDAQ:AMZN) is the world's largest retailer and cloud services provider. Shares of Amazon were up 19.5% in the quarter and finished the year up 80.9%. Reported quarterly results were better than consensus estimates with 11% year-over-year revenue growth in constant currency, a significant beat in North American operating profit as operating margins reached 4.9% and a recovery in the cloud division, AWS, which grew 12% year-over-year and management reported that the impact of customer optimizations was attenuating. We believe that AWS has many years of growth ahead as IT budgets continue switching from on premise to the cloud and as Amazon remains the clear leader in the market, with large incremental opportunities in application software, including enabling GenAI workloads. We also believe Amazon is well positioned in the short-to-medium term to further improve core North American retail profitability to above pre-pandemic levels, benefiting from its new regionalized fulfillment network and its growing margin-accretive advertising business. Longer term, Amazon has substantially more room to grow in e-commerce, where it has less than 15% penetration of the total addressable market."

Media is another industry that has reported many job cuts recently. In 2023, 20,324 layoffs were announced in this industry. Many big names in media have announced layoffs in 2024, including Business Insider (8% of staff), Los Angeles Times (94 journalists), and Paramount Global (3% of the workforce). The main reason is the rise in popularity of the Internet as a one-stop shop for advertisers. Moreover, consumers are becoming more price-conscious as far as news or informational articles are concerned. Other industries announcing a significant number of layoffs include retail and even automotive. The drop in consumer spending, especially in retail, and the demand for a better bottom line have both led to a drive to cut costs, thereby cutting jobs.

In addition to variation by industry, there is a lot of disparity in the unemployment rate by state. The lowest unemployment rate by state in 2023 was in Maryland, and the highest unemployment rate by state in the same year was in Nevada. In this scenario, unemployment benefits serve as a crucial safety net, providing temporary financial assistance to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. However, unemployment benefits by state vary significantly in terms of nature and duration, highlighting stark disparities in how different regions address unemployment. Each state has a different methodology for calculating unemployment benefits as well as the employment tax rate, which provides the funds for these benefits.

You can also check out the 15 States With the Best Unemployment Benefits in 2024 here.

Our Methodology

To compile our list of the 15 states with the worst unemployment benefits in 2024, we made use of three weighted metrics, namely the average weekly benefit (weight of 0.4), cost of living index (weight of 0.3), and the number of weeks these benefits extend (weight of 0.3). We then ranked the worst states for unemployment benefits on all three of these metrics. Then, we computed a weighted average of states' rankings across these three criteria and adjusted the final rankings accordingly. The states with the worst unemployment benefits in 2024 have been ranked in descending order of their scores.

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15. Connecticut

Weighted Average Score: 7.2

Connecticut provides unemployment benefits for a period of 26 weeks. The state achieved a noteworthy milestone in economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in November 2023, when employment levels surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

Weighted Average Score: 7.1

Maine experienced an increase in its unemployment rate, reaching 3.2% in January 2024. Despite this upward trend for the fifth consecutive month, the rate remained lower than the overall US unemployment rate and marked the lowest rate on record for the state. However, Maine's unemployment insurance system has faced challenges in meeting the needs of its citizens.

13. Arkansas

Arkansas ranks thirteenth on the list of states with the worst unemployment benefits in 2024. In addition to the low cap on unemployment benefits, the maximum duration of the benefits in Arkansas is also short as compared to the standard 26 weeks practiced in many states. The unemployment rate in Arkansas was 3.4% in December 2023.

12. Virginia

Weighted Average Score: 6.8

As of February 2023, the unemployment insurance program in Virginia offers a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits. The benefit amounts vary, starting from a minimum of $60 per week and reaching a maximum of $378 per week. Virginia infrequently revisits its unemployment benefits structure. However, the state has a low unemployment rate, which was recorded at 2.7% in December 2023.

11. District of Columbia

Weighted Average Score: 6.7

In December 2023, the unemployment rate in the District of Columbia was 5.1%, showing a 0.1% increase from November 2023 and remaining higher than other states. The District of Employment Services (DOES) has faced widespread criticism for delays in processing unemployment benefit claims amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to this criticism, DOES has revamped its unemployment insurance benefits system to simplify the application process and address issues related to fraud.

10. Tennessee

Weighted Average Score: 6.2

With an unemployment rate of 3.5% in December 2023, Tennessee is another state with an average unemployment rate and low unemployment benefits. The unemployment benefits in Tennessee are less than the minimum wage. This leaves the unemployed with hardly any money for sustenance.

9. South Carolina

Weighted Average Score: 6.1

South Carolina faces challenges in its unemployment benefits system, not only offering low benefits but also presenting complexities in the application process. With a complex system in place, only 14.8% of the unemployed population manages to access unemployment benefits in the state. Furthermore, South Carolina's eligibility period for unemployment benefits stands at 20 weeks, which is shorter compared to the standard 26 weeks practiced in many states.

8. New Hampshire

Weighted Average Score: 5.8

The unemployment rate in New Hampshire was recorded at just 2.5% in December 2023, lower than the national average. While the state's economy managed to rebound from the COVID-19 recession in a fairly short amount of time, the rising cost of living has increased the citizen's hardships.

7. California

In California, the unemployment rate rose to 5.1% in December 2023. Approximately one in four unemployment benefits claims were rejected during the pandemic for various reasons. Additionally, California's unemployment benefits have not been updated for over two decades and do not adequately cover the cost of living. Hence, California is considered one of the states with the worst unemployment benefits. Silicon Valley, situated in California's Bay Area, continues to be the largest tech hub, with companies like Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) located there.

6. Delaware

Weighted Average Score: 5.7

In Delaware, a bill was recently passed to improve the state's unemployment benefits, which have been constant since 2019. As of December 2023, the unemployment rate in Delaware stands at 4.20%, indicating no change from the previous month and a decrease from the 4.60% recorded in 2022. This figure is also below the long-term average of 5.25%.

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15 States With the Worst Unemployment Benefits in 2024

Off to Michigan, Haley is staying in the race despite Trump’s easy primary win in South Carolina

Republican presidential candidate and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a...

TROY, Mich. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate  Nikki Haley  says it’s not “the end of our story” despite  Donald Trump’s  easy primary victory in South Carolina, her home state where the onetime governor had long suggested her competitiveness with the former president would show.

Defying calls from South Carolina Republicans to exit the race, Haley traveled Sunday to Michigan, which holds its primary on Tuesday, speaking to a hotel ballroom packed with hundreds of supporters.

In the less than 24 hours following her Saturday night loss to Trump, Haley’s campaign said that she had raised $1 million “from grassroots supporters alone,” a bump they argued “demonstrates Haley’s staying power and her appeal to broad swaths of the American public.”

But with Sunday also came the end of support for Haley’s campaign from Americans for Prosperity, the political arm of the powerful Koch network.

In a memo first reported by Politico and obtained by The Associated Press, AFP Action senior adviser Emily Seidel wrote that, while the group “stands firm behind our endorsement” of Haley, it would “focus our resources where we can make the difference,” redirecting spending toward U.S. Senate and House campaigns and away from Haley’s presidential bid.

“Given the challenges in the primary states ahead, we don’t believe any outside group can make a material difference to widen her path to victory,” Seidel wrote.

AFP Action had  endorsed Haley’s campaign in November,  promising to commit its nationwide coalition of activists — and virtually unlimited funds — to helping her defeat Trump, with door knockers fanning out across early-voting states and sending out dozens of mailers on her behalf.

With his win Saturday in the first-in-the South contest, Trump has now swept every primary or caucus on the GOP early-season calendar that awards delegates. His performances have left little maneuvering room for Haley, his former U.N. ambassador.

“I have never seen the Republican Party so unified as it is right now,” Trump said in a victory night celebration in Columbia.

Haley insists she is sticking around even with the growing pressure to abandon her candidacy and let Trump focus entirely on Democratic President  Joe Biden , in a 2020 rematch.

In addition to the rally in vote-rich Oakland County, Michigan, northwest of Detroit on Sunday evening, she scheduled a Monday event in Grand Rapids, a western Michigan Republican hub. Ahead of the first event on Sunday evening, dozens of supporters filed into a Troy hotel ballroom, festooned with campaign signs and featuring a guitar-playing duo to entertain the crowd, rather than Haley’s typical classic rock rally playlist, although speakers eventually blared with the campaign’s familiar soundtrack.

Taking the stage, Haley gave the roughly half-hour speech typical of her events, although she added a few touches specific to the Michigan audience. Calling Biden’s incentivizing of electric vehicle programs “corporate welfare,” Haley asked attendees in this state where the auto industry is a major economic driver about the unfairness of any requirement to switch to electric.

“What about the fact that maybe we all don’t want to drive an electric car?” Haley asked the crowd, which affirmed her line of questioning. “Have you seen how expensive they are?”

The Biden administration has voiced a goal of ensuring that EVs  make up half of all new car sales  by 2030. Last month, the White House  announced it was awarding  $623 million in grants to states, local governments and tribes to help build an electric vehicle charging network across the nation.

In another tweak to her argument, as she pushes forward through the next batch of states to vote, Haley reiterated her comments from Saturday night that the fact she nearly notched 40% in South Carolina shows the stark percentage of voters who don’t favor Trump, something she says would make it hard for him to win the general election.

“He’s not going to get that 40% if he’s going and calling out my supporters and saying they’re ‘barred permanently from MAGA,’” Haley said, referencing Trump’s comments directed at anyone who funded her campaign. “He’s not going to get the 40% by calling them names.”

Asa Hutchinson , a Trump critic and former Arkansas governor who dropped out of the GOP presidential race after Iowa’s leadoff caucuses in January, said he thought Haley should stay in. “The challenge is that she did everything she could in South Carolina,” he said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Haley has pledged to keep going through at least the batch of primaries on March 5, known as Super Tuesday. “But it’s got to accelerate because you run into the delegate wall. And the delegate wall is March 5,” Hutchinson said. “So she’s got to prove herself.”

South Carolina’s most prominent Republicans stood with Trump, including U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, who endorsed him this past week.

To U.S. Rep. Russell Fry, “this has always been a primary in name only” and that Trump was never in jeopardy of losing to Haley. Fry said Trump would be the GOP nominee and the latest election results were “just further validation of that.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Trump ally, said Trump was on “a pathway” to being able to clinch the nomination by mid-March. “I would say the wind is strongly” at his back, Abbott told CNN.

Not all voters in South Carolina want Haley to end her campaign.

Irene Sulkowski of Daniel Island said she hoped Haley would soldier on, suggesting the former governor would be a more appealing general election candidate than Trump despite his popularity among the GOP base that powers the primary season.

“They’re not thinking, ‘Who do you want to represent us in the general election?’” said Sulkowski, an accountant. “And they need to have a longer-term view.”

Beaumont reported from Des Moines, Iowa. Associated Press writer James Pollard in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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IMAGES

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  6. South Carolina Statement of Non-receipt of Unemployment (Ui) Benefits

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VIDEO

  1. Funding Your Post-Secondary Education and Housing Residence Options 2023

COMMENTS

  1. PDF ASSIGNMENT: HOW IT WORKS

    the treatment and availability of a bad faith action in South Carolina in order to determine whether it can be assigned. B. Assignment of Bad Faith Claims Bad faith claims can be brought as either a contract action or a tort action, or both, but recovery is limited to either contract or tort, but not both. South Carolina permits the plaintiff to

  2. Handling Assignment of Benefit ("AOB") Claims in the Wake of ...

    This article explains briefly what an AOB claim is, how Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina address AOB claims, and the best practices for handling AOB claims.

  3. South Carolina Code 38-65-30. Assignment of rights and benefits under

    Terms Used In South Carolina Code 38-65-30. Beneficiary: A person who is entitled to receive the benefits or proceeds of a will, trust, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity, or other contract. Source: OCC; insurance: includes annuities.See South Carolina Code 38-1-20; Insurer: includes a corporation, fraternal organization, burial association, other association, partnership, society ...

  4. 2013 South Carolina Code of Laws

    Assignment of rights and benefits under policies. There is a newer version of the South Carolina Code of Laws . 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 Other previous versions. View our newest version here. 2013 South Carolina Code of Laws Title 38 - Insurance CHAPTER 65 - GROUP LIFE INSURANCE SECTION 38-65-30. Assignment of rights and benefits under policies.

  5. Code of Laws

    Title 27 - Property and Conveyances. CHAPTER 25. Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors. SECTION 27-25-10. Assignment by insolvent debtor. Any assignment by an insolvent debtor of his property for the benefit of his creditors in which any preference or priority is given to any creditor or creditors of the debtor by the terms of the assignment ...

  6. 2012 South Carolina Code of Laws

    2012 South Carolina Code of Laws Title 38 - Insurance Chapter 77 - AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE Section 38-77-260 - General release, assignment of claims, and like documents. ... No person making payment or settlement of benefits for which the person is obligated under Sections 38-77-240 to 38-77-340 and no insurer may in connection with the payment or ...

  7. How Does Your Insurance Policy's "Assignment of Benefits" Clause Affect

    In this instance, the contractor will sometimes suggest that the homeowner enter into an "assignment of benefits" (AOB) arrangement. Under this side contract, the contractor agrees to accept as payment whatever the insurance company pays for the insured's property loss claim. Such AOB deals can be a major problem.

  8. Assignment of Benefits: Consumer Beware

    An Assignment of Benefits, or an AOB, is an agreement signed by a policyholder that allows a third party—such as a water extraction company, a roofer or a plumber—to act on behalf of the insured and seek direct payment from the insurance company. An AOB can be a useful tool for getting repairs done, as it allows the repair company to deal ...

  9. South Carolina Code Section 41-35-110 (2022)

    2022 South Carolina Code of Laws Title 41 - Labor and Employment Chapter 35 ... no claimant shall be eligible to receive benefits or waiting period credit following the completion of a temporary work assignment unless the claimant shows that he informed the temporary employment agency that provided the assignment of the assignment's completion ...

  10. South Carolina Code 27-25-30. Assignment for benefit of creditors

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  11. PDF South Carolina Labor and Employment guide (April 2015)

    This booklet provides a basic overview of the employment laws in effect in South Carolina and is divided into five main themes, or sections, as follows: 1) the employment relationship; 2) wages and hours; 3) employment discrimination; 4) workplace safety; and 5) immigration. Citations to South Carolina Code of Laws are provided when available.

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    SECTION 38-77-30. Definitions. (1) "Automobile insurance" means automobile bodily injury and property damage liability insurance, including medical payments and uninsured motorist coverage, and automobile physical damage insurance such as automobile comprehensive physical damage, collision, fire, theft, combined additional coverage, and similar ...

  13. Assignment of Benefits for Contractors: Pros & Cons of ...

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  14. South Carolina Code 38-77-260. General release, assignment of claims

    General release, assignment of claims, and like documents » LawServer. South Carolina Code 38-77-260. General release, assignment of claims, and like documents. (a) No person making payment or settlement of benefits for which the person is obligated under §§ 38-77-240 to 38-77-340 and no insurer may in connection with the payment or ...

  15. Changes to Third-Party Liability Policy

    Effective on or after Dec. 31, 2021, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) will make changes to its claims processing policy as it relates to third-party liability (TPL) coverage as described in the bulletin below. The changes being made are required by federal law to comply with provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 and Medicaid Services Investment and ...

  16. Code of Laws

    Employment and Workforce-Benefits and Claims. ARTICLE 1. Regular Benefits. SECTION 41-35-10. Payment of benefits generally. Benefits shall become payable from the fund to any individual who is unemployed and eligible for benefits. Except as provided in Section 41-35-20 benefits based on service in employment defined in Section 41-27-230 (2) and ...

  17. PDF Hospital Lien Laws in All 50 States Chart (00215648)

    Assignment of Benefits Doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers often requires patients to execute an "Assignment of enefits" (AO) agreement as part of the paperwork that is ... South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming are the only states without statewide lien law provisions. These states do not currently have a statute with a ...

  18. An AOB? Can we do that?

    The leading case in North Carolina recognizing the validity of transferring insurance proceeds by an assignment of the policy benefit is Alaimo Chiropractic. 2 The patient in Alaimo Chiropractic executed an "Assignment of Proceeds, Lien and Authorization" in favor of Alaimo. Allstate refused to recognize the assignment, ignored the notice ...

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  20. Forms

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  21. PDF Assignment of Benefits Guide

    Assignment of Benefits. A procedure whereby a beneficiary/patient authorizes the administrator of the program to forward payment for a covered procedure directly to the treating dentist. This is done using box #37 on the ADA claim form. The below image shows the specific instructions for how to complete box #37 for use with assignment of benefits.

  22. Applying for Benefits

    Step 2: File a New Claim. Watch the File a New Claim Video on this page for instructions. File a New Claim Instructions (PDF) Before any benefits can be paid, an unpaid waiting period equivalent to one full week of unemployment benefits must be served. This requirement was waived by DEW in March 2020 due to the pandemic, however, the expiration ...

  23. Assignment of Benefits, Part 8: North Carolina

    The requests from our readers keep coming and in and this week we are taking a look at Assignment of Benefits ("AOBs") in North Carolina. AOBs are permitted in North Carolina, however there are several restrictions. First, concerning the AOB itself, the Courts have held that, "' [a]n action 'arising out of contract' generally can be ...

  24. Trump is winning big with his base, but there's no sign that he's

    In South Carolina and Iowa, about 4 in 10 Haley voters supported Biden nearly four years ago. Roughly half of her New Hampshire voters voted for Biden. The challenge for Haley is that this group ...

  25. 5 Reasons to Consider Retiring in South Carolina

    In addition to the property tax break, South Carolina residents ages 65 and older can deduct up to $10,000 in retirement income, such as 401(k) distributions or pensions, from their state income tax (Social Security benefits are not taxed at all), and those 60 and up can take tuition-free classes at state colleges and universities.

  26. Haley benefits from cash windfall ahead of South Carolina

    Two," the former South Carolina governor said at another point, noting it takes 1,215 delegates to become the party's nominee. "Trump has 32, I have 17. We've got 48 states and more ...

  27. 15 States With the Worst Unemployment Benefits in 2024

    South Carolina Weighted Average Score: 6.1 With a complex system in place, only 14.8% of the unemployed population manages to access unemployment benefits in the state.

  28. Off to Michigan, Haley is staying in the race despite Trump's easy

    Defying calls from South Carolina Republicans to exit the race, Nikki Haley traveled Sunday to Michigan, which holds its primary on Tuesday, speaking to a hotel ballroom packed with hundreds of ...