NEW YORK, July 9, 2021 –In yet another example of how the insurance industry is bringing societal value through its non-profit networks, the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) is teaming up with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) during the NICB’s Contractor Fraud Awareness Week (July 12-16) to highlight how unethical contractors operate after a natural disaster.
Consumers must be on alert. Post-disaster repair scams typically start when a contractor makes an unsolicited visit to a homeowner and pressures the homeowner to pay the contractor their insurance claim monies before the home’s repairs are completed. These unethical contractors often collect these monies, and then disappear without doing the work.
“Acting as communities’ financial first responders, insurers rebuild damaged homes, cars, and lives after a natural disaster,” stated Sean Kevelighan, CEO, Triple-I. “The Insurance Information Institute is proud to join forces with the NICB to educate consumers and communities about how to best prepare and recover economically.”
Before hiring any contractor, consumers impacted by a natural disaster should call their insurer. There’s no need to rush into an agreement with a contractor.
“Support from other organizations helps us spread the word about the problems associated with post-disaster fraud,” said David Glawe, president and CEO, NICB. “Victims of disasters are under tremendous stress as they are often pulled from their homes, fight heavy traffic attempting to get to safety, all while leaving their home and belongings behind. When they go home, they are exhausted and strained, a time when they are most susceptible to these fraudulent schemes.”
The NICB offers these tips to homeowners before hiring a contractor:
Homeowners should always inspect the work and make sure they are satisfied before paying the contractor. Most contractors will require a reasonable down payment on work, but no payments should be made until a written contract is in place.
The NICB Post-Disaster Contractor Search Checklist explains the contractor hiring process step by step. Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422) or submitting a form to the NICB.