Triple-I, NICB team to prevent contractor fraud

Contractor fraud can be rampant in the aftermath of a natural disaster

Triple-I, NICB team to prevent contractor fraud


By Ryan Smith

The Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) are marking this week as Contractor Fraud Awareness Week in order to highlight how homeowners can protect themselves from dishonest contractors.

“Home contractor fraud needs fixing, as entirely too many consumers fall victim to shoddy work that puts what’s oftentimes their greatest investment at increased risk,” said Sean Kevelighan, CEO of Triple-I. “The Insurance Information Institute is proud to join forces with the National Insurance Crime Bureau to educate homeowners about the common signs of fraud and to offer steps homeowners can take to make sure they are hiring a reputable contractor.”

According to Triple-I, post-disaster contractor fraud scams often start with an unsolicited visit from a contractor who claims to want to help victims rebuild. Dishonest contractors also frequently use flyers to advertise their services. However, there are multiple ways homeowners can check up on a contractor’s credentials and reputation.

“Catastrophic events negatively impact millions of Americans every year,” said David Glawe, CEO of NICB. “From hurricanes to floods and everything in between, these events are often scary and life-changing. But what makes this impact worse is what happens afterwards, as insurance fraud targets areas affected by these natural disasters. Often before flood waters recede or rescue operations are complete, dishonest contractors prey upon individuals who are at their most vulnerable. Before hiring anyone, call your insurance company first. If you didn’t request it, then you should reject it.”

Triple-I and NICB had the following tips for homeowners looking for reputable contractors:

  • Get at least three written estimates and compare them: In the aftermath of a natural catastrophe, contractors are in high demand. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated supply chain disruptions have also put upward pressure on labor and material costs
  • Check credentials, including licenses, references and insurance: Reputable contractors won’t balk when asked to provide these
  • Ensure your contract includes estimated construction schedules and prices for labor and materials: If a contractor demands full payment up front, the homeowner should be hesitant about doing business with them. However, it’s not uncommon for contractors to request partial payment up front in order to obtain necessary supplies for the job
  • Contact your insurer to make certain your policy is up to date: If a contractor offers advice on what your homeowners’ policy covers, get it double-checked by an insurance professional affiliated with your insurer

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