This is probably the weirdest story you’ll read today. How weird? Well, put it this way: it’s a Mike Bianchi story worth reading.
The last-minute political strong-arming that recently nixed UCF’s lucrative $35 million football stadium naming-rights deal with Roofclaim.com has also killed FAU’s already-announced $5 million sponsorship deal with Roofclaim.com, FAU confirmed Tuesday…
According to Sentinel sources, the influential insurance industry and several prominent state politicians intervened behind the scenes to cancel the UCF and FAU naming-rights deals with Roofclaim.com. The UCF deal would have been worth $35 million for 15 years — a figure that Danny White said in a December meeting of the UCF Foundation Board of Directors would be the “third or fourth” most lucrative naming-rights deal in the history of college football.
Even though UCF’s cash-strapped athletic program could desperately use that influx of working capital, the deal was killed because Roofclaim.com is an arch-enemy of the state’s massive insurance conglomerate. Roofclaim.com is a subsidiary of Jasper Contractors, a high-volume roofing company headquartered in Atlanta. The company, like many others in the industry, cashed in on a loophole that has cost insurance companies mega-millions of dollars. The loophole is a controversial-but-legal practice known as assignment of benefits — often referred to as AOB.
An AOB is a legally binding document through which a homeowner gives a third party (including companies such as Roofclaim.com) the right to negotiate, file insurance claims and collect insurance payments without the homeowner’s involvement. In May 2019, at the prodding of the insurance industry, the Florida Legislature overhauled the law governing AOB agreements.
It’s no secret UCF’s and FAU’s corporate partnerships with Roofclaim.com are the impetus for a controversial bill introduced in Tallahassee last month that would give the Legislature final approval on whether a sports stadium or arena at a public university can be branded after a company willing to pay for the naming rights.
A harbinger that state politicians and the insurance lobby would kill UCF’s naming-rights deal with Roofclaim.com came at the UCF Foundation Board of Directors meeting in December. Board member and treasurer, Alan Florez, who admitted at the meeting that he himself has ties to the insurance industry, raised objections to the naming-rights deal with Roofclaim.com.
“It is my understanding and expectation that this will draw a negative reaction from policy makers both locally and throughout the state,” Florez is heard saying during a recording of the meeting obtained by the Sentinel. “Is everyone aware and prepared for there to be a negative response to this, especially among our policymakers in the legislature?”
They actually wrote a bill to regulate naming rights. That may be your ultimate stick to sports story. Man, poor Danny White can’t get no respect anywhere.