MEDIA ADVISORY: Avoiding Unlicensed Contractors Following Hurricane Irma
Tallahassee, Fla. — After feeling the effects Hurricane Irma left behind for nearly 10 days now, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) today warned Floridians to continue to be aware of unlicensed contractors during the ongoing recovery process.
“As a Floridian myself, we know all too well the damage caused by a major storm, like Hurricane Irma, can be very overwhelming and can cause anxiety when dealing with how to go about hiring a vendor to help repair or clean up the damage to your property, whether it be your home, business or vehicle,” said PCI Florida Regional Manager Logan McFaddin. “That is why, we at PCI, are doing everything we can to make sure all Floridians who are in the recovery process know what to look for when hiring a reputable and trustworthy contractor to help you return to normalcy after a natural catastrophe.”
“As a part of the Consumer Protection Coalition, we are proud to be a part of the insurance villages that are currently going on around the state in the areas that were hardest hit by Hurricane Irma,” said McFaddin. “Not only do these villages serve to expedite the claims process and answer questions Floridians may have about their insurance, but also serve to provide detailed information on assignment of benefits (AOB) abuse. This type of abuse is when a lawyer or unlicensed contractor encourages you – the homeowner, business owner or auto owner – to sign away your insurance rights for them to quickly ‘help’ you recover from the damages. A lawyer or unlicensed contractor then turns around, often without your – the policyholder – knowledge and sues the insurance company, an abuse to the system in Florida that is contributing to increases in insurance premiums.”
“Before you hire a contractor, PCI encourages Floridians to make sure they hire a preferred, licensed contractor to avoid being caught in an AOB scam,” said McFaddin. “Some basic tips to be mindful of when hiring a vendor include: 1) contact your insurer at the beginning of the process, 2) always have a written, detailed contract, 3) do not believe anyone who says they are supported by the government, as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does not endorse any individual vendor or loan companies, and 4) avoid paying in cash so you have a record of your payment to the contractor.”
For more tips on how Floridians can avoid unlicensed contractors, please visit: http://bit.ly/2w5qRzn.