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Roofing Homeowner Scam

Ok, this roof truly needs help!

Ok, this roof truly needs help!

 

 

 

 

Thank you American Integrity Insurance for this great article. You can read the original here.

This time it’s your roof! Florida homeowners scammed

by Amanda Richter

This time it’s your roof! Florida roofing homeowner scam

A couple weeks ago we wrote about a growing problem – contractors using “assignment of benefits” to hijack consumer water claims. This alarming trend is finding its way to the roofing industry. Just last week the Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced the arrest of five NBRC Roofing Company employees for allegedly organizing a $525,000 insurance fraud scheme.

According to a press release from the DFS, the scam involved “visiting homeowners following a storm, convincing the homeowners roof repairs were necessary, helping the homeowners file insurance claims for repair and finally convincing the homeowners to give NBRC the sole right to make the repairs and the assignment of benefits for the insurance claim. But once NBRC was paid for insurance claim, the repairs would not be completed and the insurance money would be pocketed by NBRC employees.”

This is just another example of why assigning the rights to your insurance claim to a third party is a bad idea. When you sign a contract which contains an “Assignment of Benefits” (words to the effect of ‘I transfer and assign any and all insurance rights, benefits, and causes of action under my property insurance policy’ to the contractor) you sign the rights to your claim and any monies for your damage to that contractor in exchange for the contractor fixing the problem. If you disagree with how the contractor handles the repair or the amount charged you have given up your right to resolve the issue with your insurance company.

According to the DFS the below defendants were arrested in relation to this case:

  • Frank Martin Pureber, Apollo Beach
  • Carlton D Dunko, Tampa
  • Stacy Lynn Dunko, Tampa
  • Joel Samuel Deserio, Tampa
  • Alexander Josue Gomez, Riverview

Additional arrests are expected to be made of the following individuals:

  • Eric Shane Johnson, Bradenton
  • Christopher Michael Rios, Brandon
  • Benjamin Zebulon Matthews, Lakewood Ranch

The cases will be prosecuted by the Office of Statewide Prosecution.

How can you prevent this from happening to you?

  1. Call your insurance company first when you have a claim: they can help you partner with a reputable contractor and help explain what an “Assignment of Benefits” really means.
  2. Read any document you’re asked to sign: a contractor should only require you to sign a work authorization so if you see the phrase “Assignment of Benefit” do not sign.
  3. Unsavory contractors are especially prevalent after big storms when many Florida homeowners report damage. To avoid being a victim, prepare in advance by keeping a list of trusted contractors. Your insurance company may also be able to recommend experts. ASK THEM FIRST. It is to both your benefits to get quality work done at a reasonable price.

How much Screen Enclosure Coverage do I need?

Screen Enclosure

 

 

 

Q.  How much Screen Enclosure Coverage do I Need?

A. Just like with any type of property coverage owners should purchase enough coverage to replace their pool cage should it be completely destroyed.  Referencing your original purchase paperwork or getting an estimate from a licensed contractor can help take the guess work out of the number.  Be careful though!  Many homeowner insurance companies do not offer screen enclosure coverage, or they only offer coverage for the actual cage or aluminum framework but not the screen material itself.  Screen enclosure coverage is usually by special add-on, so if it doesn’t appear on your policy you should ask your agent about your specific needs and the details of the your specific policy.

Why Are Certain Electrical Panels Ineligible for Insurance?

If you electrical panel looks like this call an electrician immediately!

If you electrical panel looks like this call an electrician immediately!

Q.  Why Are Certain Electrical Panels (Federal Pacific Electric & Zinsco) Ineligible for Insurance?

A.  Passing judgment on these types of electrical panels isn’t something that insurance professionals can do, but many insurance companies say that they experience more claims related to electrical fires in homes with these panel boxes.  Many times homeowners don’t know they have a questionable electrical panel until they have had a 4 Point Inspection.
Read more →

What is a 4 point Inspection?

 

Q.  What is a 4 point inspection? Can I fail it?

A.  A 4 Point inspection is like a check-up for the vital systems in your home.  The inspection isn’t conducted on a pass/fail basis, but it can reveal areas that need repair.  The 4 points examined are the roof, electrical wiring, plumbing, and heating/cooling systems.  Many homeowner insurance companies require 4 Point inspections once homes reach a certain age.  It’s a relatively easy and inexpensive way to ensure that your home is healthy and doesn’t have any hidden problems that may reveal themselves when least expected.  When you hire someone to do an inspection you make sure they are licensed. We work with a few highly rated and recommended inspectors so if you need their number give us a call!  It is possible that your insurance company may come back and request that you make a change based on the results of the 4 Point Inspection. For example, there are electrical panels that are old and can be a fire hazard and certain types of pipes that are found to leak more so if you have them the company may request that you replace or fix them.

What is Water Back-Up and Sump Overflow coverage?

Water Back-Up and Sump Overflow coverage

 

 

 

 

Q.  What is water back-up coverage?

A.  Water Back-Up and Sump Overflow coverage protects against water intrusion in the event that public utilities and/or septic systems become inundated and reverse course.  This type of coverage became very common after the 2004 hurricane season during which storm drains could not handle the amount of rain water inundating them.  This coverage is separate from flood insurance and most homeowner insurance already covers water damage from roof leaks/burst pipes/certain other causes.  Simply put, if your toilets and/or sinks began overflowing into your home due to reasons outside of the home (not a hairball in the P-Trap or tree roots in the main drain) this coverage may apply. If you are not sure if your policy has Water Back-Up and Sump Overflow coverage call your agent.

What is Umbrella Insurance and Do I Need it?

Julie and Jason have an umbrella!

Julie and Jason have an umbrella!

Q.  What is Umbrella Insurance and do I need it?

A.  Liability Umbrella policies are incredibly valuable and affordable protection needed by individuals and business, alike.  Your primary policies – home/car/boat/business owner’s/worker’s compensation/commercial automobile/etc. – provide an initial layer of liability protection.  This primary coverage is often maxed out at $300,000 – $500,000 for individuals and $1,000,000 for businesses.  Umbrellas can come with many different coverage limits, but the most common limits are $1 million, $2 million and $5 million.  Insurance is designed not only protect your current assets, but it also aims to protect your future earning potential against wage garnishments and judgments that a major claim may give rise to.  Umbrellas extend your liability protection beyond your primary coverage.  Simply put, someone with $500,000 primary liability and a $1 million umbrella effectively has $1.5 million in protection (within the bounds the policies involved).  Umbrellas can sometimes even provide additional coverage that your primary insurance does not.

Whether or not you buy an umbrella policy is up to you, but for guidance call your agent!