FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York Press Office: Loretta Worters, 917-208-8842; firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW YORK, May 20, 2022 —To highlight how homeowners can protect themselves from unethical contractors, the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) are marking Contractor Fraud Awareness Week (May 23-27).
Contractor fraud often occurs after major natural disasters which impact large numbers of homeowners, with some contractors initiating contact with homeowners long after the disaster occurred. Unethical contractors frequently use flyers and door hangers to generate business. In Florida, there are contractors who solicit roof replacement claims door-to-door even when no storm has occurred. Homeowners, however, have ways to determine a contractor’s credentials and reputation.
“The Insurance Information Institute is proud to join forces with the National Insurance Crime Bureau to educate homeowners about the common signs of contractor fraud and the steps homeowners can take to make sure they are hiring a reputable contractor,” stated Sean Kevelighan, CEO, Triple-I.
“Disasters can bring out the best in people as they rush to help those in need. Unfortunately, disasters also attract predatory contractors looking to defraud and deceive disaster victims,” said David Glawe, president and CEO, NICB. “After most disasters, these shameful contractors use well-rehearsed, predatory practices to exploit stressed disaster victims when they are most vulnerable. As a result, survivors pay these bad actors who do little or no work.”
Triple-I and the NICB offer these five tips to homeowners in the market for a reputable contractor.
- If you didn’t request it, reject it—Homeowners should proactively seek a contractor when their property is damaged due to a windstorm (e.g., hurricane, tornado) or fire. An unsolicited offer from a contractor with whom the homeowner is unfamiliar should be treated with skepticism.
- Get at least three written estimates for the work and compare bids—In the aftermath of a major natural disaster, contractors are in high demand. The pandemic and supply chain disruptions also have put additional pressure on labor and building material costs. Homeowners should solicit at least three written estimates from three different contractors.
- Check credentials, including licenses, references, and insurance—Reputable contractors will provide homeowners with their state and local business licenses, physical business address and telephone numbers, and references.
- Make sure your contract includes estimated construction schedules and prices for labor and materials—If a contractor requires full payment upfront for a job, homeowners should think twice about doing business with them. It is common, however, for a contractor to request some money upfront after signing a contract with a homeowner as the contractor needs to buy supplies.
- Contact your insurer to make sure your policy is up to date— If a contractor offers advice on what a homeowners insurance policy covers, the property owner should have this interpretation double-checked by an insurance professional affiliated with the insurer who covers the damaged home.
Article: Insurance Fraud
Facts & Statistics: Insurance Fraud
Video: Contractor Fraud Awareness Tips
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