Triple-I, NICB Contractor Fraud Prevention Team | Insurance Business America
After a natural disaster, contractor fraud can be rampant
The Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) and National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) are conducting Contractor Fraud Awareness Week this week to highlight how homeowners can protect themselves from dishonest contractors.
“Contractor fraud needs to be addressed as far too many consumers fall victim to poor work that often puts their biggest investment at increased risk,” said Sean Kevelighan, CEO of Triple-I. “The Insurance Information Institute is proud to partner with the National Insurance Crime Bureau to educate homeowners on the most common signs of fraud and offer them steps to ensure they are hiring a reputable contractor.”
According to Triple-I, post-disaster contractor scams often begin with an unsolicited visit from a contractor claiming to want to help victims rebuild. Dishonest contractors also often use flyers to advertise their services. However, there are several ways homeowners can check a contractor’s credentials and reputation.
“Disastrous events adversely affect millions of Americans each year,” said David Glawe, CEO of NICB. “From hurricanes to floods and everything in between, these events are often frightening and life-changing. But what makes that impact even worse is what happens afterward, as insurance fraud targets areas affected by these natural disasters. Before the flood waters recede or rescue efforts are complete, dishonest contractors often prey on those most at risk. Before hiring anyone, first call your insurance company. If you have not requested it, you should refuse it.”
Triple-I and NICB had the following tips for homeowners looking for reputable contractors:
- Obtain at least three written estimates and compare them: After a natural disaster, contractors are in high demand. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated supply chain disruptions have also resulted in an increase in labor and material costs
- Check your qualifications including licenses, references and insurance: Reputable contractors will not shy away from providing these
- Make sure your contract includes estimated construction schedules and prices for labor and materials: If a contractor requires full upfront payment, the homeowner should be reluctant to do business with them. However, it is not uncommon for contractors to require partial payment upfront to procure the materials required for the job
- Contact your insurer to ensure your policy is up to date: If a contractor gives you advice on the scope of your home insurance, have it double-checked with an insurance expert associated with your insurer
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