Boulder County, Colorado, January 5, 2022 — In the aftermath of the devastating Marshall fire, the most catastrophic wildfire in Colorado history, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association (RMIA) are providing Coloradans with recommendations to avoid contractor fraud while rebuilding.
“After every disaster, NICB investigators on the ground see contractors move in to impacted regions offering their services to help people get their homes put back together,” said David Glawe, president and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. “Most of the time, these contractors are honorable and do good, solid work. Unfortunately, there are those that have other motivations and attempt to take advantage of the stresses and strains disaster victims experience, pressure them to sign a contract, ask for payment in advance and then do shoddy or no work at all. There is no need to rush into an agreement with a contractor who solicits your repair work—especially when you did not request it.”
Click HERE to read about the impact inflation has on how much home insurance coverage you may need in the event of repairing or rebuilding.
“Always contact your insurer before you commit to a contractor,” says Rocky Mountain Insurance Association Executive Director Carole Walker. “Understanding your insurance coverage and coordinating with your insurance adjuster on the front-end will help with the claims process and put you on the right road to rebuilding your home. Anytime we have a large scale, catastrophic event, it draws these scammers—from shady, unlicensed vendors for smoke, ash, soot damage clean-up to high-pressure sales techniques. Don’t sign anything until you know who you are dealing with and that they are reputable.”
The NICB and RMIA recommends this advice for Colorado fire victims:
- Get more than one estimate and don’t be pushed into signing a contract right away.
- Get everything in writing including cost, work to be done, materials, time schedule, guarantees, payment schedule and other expectations should be detailed.
- Request references and check them out.
- Ask to see the salesperson’s driver’s license and write down the license number and license plate number.
- Ask for proof the contractor is bonded, carries liability insurance and covers his/her workers with workers compensation insurance.
- Check the contractor’s business card which should have a verifiable street address and office phone number.
- Never sign a contract with blanks as unacceptable terms can be added later.
- Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is finished. Request a lien waiver indicating the contractor has paid its subcontractors and suppliers.
- Insurance coverage may be rendered void if intentional misrepresentation by a policyholder is discovered.
Click HERE to hear Mandy Connell at KOA Radio speak with Colorado Farm Bureau Insurance Company’s State Sales Manager, Monty Peterson about the importance of sufficient coverage on Homeowner’s policies.
Be certain to keep all paperwork you receive from your insurer and your contractor. In Colorado, a contractor may require you to sign a form allowing your insurer to pay the contractor directly. Routinely check on the progress of repairs and take photos throughout the duration of the project.
If you believe you have been approached by an unlicensed contractor or adjuster, or have been encouraged to fabricate an insurance claim, contact your insurance company or call the National Insurance Crime Bureau Hotline at 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422).
REPORT FRAUD: 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 on our website.
ABOUT RMIA: Rocky Mountain Insurance Association is a non-profit consumer information organization that represents property & casualty insurers in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. RMIA has been serving consumers and the media since 1952. www.rmiia.org
ABOUT THE NATIONAL INSURANCE CRIME BUREAU: Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation’s leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to combatting and preventing insurance crime through Intelligence, Analytics, and Operations; Education and Crime Prevention; and Strategy, Policy, and Advocacy. The NICB is supported by more than 1,200 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $530 billion in insurance premiums in 2020, or more than 82% of the nation’s property-casualty insurance. That includes more than 95% ($236 billion) of the nation’s personal auto insurance. To learn more, visit www.nicb.org.