Florida Insurance Brokers & Insurers Partner to Fight Fraud

Tallahassee – Monday August 22, 2022: As the hurricane season begins, Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate (ICA) Tasha Carter and the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) have announced that they will work to help people avoid being victimized by contractor fraud and abuse.

Florida’s ICA and APCIA have created a free, easy-to-print guide that outlines red flag warnings and steps to take before hiring a contractor. With high-profile events predicting hurricane season, fraudsters may have more opportunities to prey on homeowners in need of repairs.

ICA/APCIA Don’t Be a Victim! Fraud and Abuse Prevention Guide for Contractors provides a lot of detail and advice.

Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter says, “Fraud increases costs and results in consumers having to pay for the problem. so that you can easily explain to them when the storm blows. Prepare as much as you can to protect yourself from fraud and make the task of resolving this incident easier.”

“Insurance companies want to protect their customers from fraudsters who want to prey on victims,” ​​said Logan McFaddin, APCIA vice president. who can say if their house is destroyed.”

According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, an estimated $308.6 billion is lost each year to insurance fraud. Fraudulent insurance policies cause insurance companies to pay more than you negotiated or pay additional fees to settle these cases, resulting in consumers being burdened with excess insurance coverage, lack of availability, and reduced coverage.

Florida’s ICA and APCIA provide the following guidelines to protect homeowners from fraud and abusive contractors.

  1. Be alert and know the warning signs. Check out unsolicited ads for your roof inspection or repair. Beware of contractors who force you to sign a contract and require you to pay part or all of it up front.
  2. Contact the insurance company first. File your claim first and let your insurer confirm what repairs are needed before signing any contracts. Then get a licensed contractor to do the repair. Your insurer can help you identify licensed contractors in your area.
  3. Verify insurance and permits. Make sure the contractor you hire has workers’ compensation insurance and make sure the contractor has a valid address. Floridians should take a look Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) to ensure that the contractor is licensed and creditworthy.
  4. Get three bids and check references. Get three written, written appraisals of the job and compare the offers. Ask the contractor to provide you with references and contact the references to ensure that the work was done on time and completed in accordance with the construction regulations.
  5. Look for complaints. Florida residents should check with the Florida DBPR or Best Business to determine whether a complaint has been filed against the contractor.
  6. Don’t pay everything upfront. Many contractors require fair wages, but do not pay enough and do not pay cash. Make sure you have a detailed written contract before you commit to anything. Pay for the job in installments when the job is done and use a check or credit card to maintain a payment history. Make sure the work is done before you pay the invoice.
  7. Get a written agreement. Always get a written contract that clearly states everything the contractor will do, including prices for labor and materials. Make sure the contract includes cleaning schedules and start and end dates. Do not sign a contract without terms that can be filled in later by the contractor. Make sure you understand the contract before signing; ask a trusted friend or family member for help, if necessary

About Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate
Florida Insurance Attorney Tasha Carter is committed to increasing consumer awareness and education; assisting consumers with insurance related matters; and practicing law to represent Florida insurance consumers. The ICA serves the interests of Florida insurance consumers by representing the public in front of key stakeholders and creating solutions that affect consumers.

About the American Property Casualty Insurance Association
The American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) is the premier trade association for home, auto, and commercial property. APCIA promotes and protects the potential of private competition for the benefit of consumers and insurance, a heritage of 150 years.