Telling the Story: Consumer Experiences

Telling The Story - Consumer Experiences

Contractor solicitation fraud impacts both the insurance industry and consumers resulting in increased insurance rates, and lack of availability and affordability of insurance coverage. These stories are real examples from consumers who have experienced harmful consequences involving contractors. These examples will help to further illustrate the impact fraud has on consumers and the insurance market as a whole.

Incomplete Restoration Leaves Home Uninhabitable

Example of a gutted home - kitchen with no appliances, cabinets or flooring
An elderly, disabled Bay County couple filed a Hurricane Michael claim as a result of water entering their home causing minor physical damage and mold. The couple contracted with a restoration company which told them they would need to move out of their home while it was being repaired. The couple moved into an assisted living facility.  


The restoration company completely gutted their home, removing personal property, drywall, appliances and other fixtures. The restoration company did not complete the work and the home is uninhabitable. 
When the couple attempted to rescind the contract, the restoration company sent the couple an invoice totaling more than $99,000 and filed a lien against the property for nearly $100,000. 


Homeowners Misled Into Fraudulent Insurance Schemes

Public Adjuster or Lawyer with Senior Couple
 LEE COUNTY SENIOR COMMUNITY ROOF CLAIMS

A fraud investigation was initiated involving a senior community in Lee County that involves 15 insurance companies, one contractor, one public adjuster and one attorney.

At least 11 roof claims have been filed citing Hurricane Irma damage. Residents were promised a new roof with no out of pocket expenses if they sign a contract with the contractor, the public adjuster and the attorney and then they are coached on what to say to the company adjuster.

32 CLAIMS FROM A SINGLE SOUTHWEST FLORIDA COMMUNITY

During a 4-week timeframe in 2020, an insurance company received 32 claims from one SW Florida community. The claims included:

  • 14 claims for Hurricane Irma damage 
  • 18 water damage claims for kitchen leaks and bathroom leaks

All of the claims were reported by the same law firm and the same public adjuster. Many of the homeowners stated they were unaware that they were hiring an attorney.

22 AOBs were filed from the same water mitigation company and 21 AOBs were filed from the same mold testing company.

  • 19 homes filed 32 individual claims
  • 13 homes filed two claims
  • 9 homes filed four AOBs each

The claims along with the AOBs have the potential of more than 70 lawsuits. Invoices that were submitted by the law firm, the water mitigation company and the mold testing company totaled more than $816,000.

 


Contractor Failed to Complete $28,000 Worth of Repairs

A contractor was paid more than $40,000 and never completed the repairs. There was more than $28,000 in repairs outstanding. After numerous delays and arguments with the contractor, the homeowner had to deplete her savings and take out a loan to complete the repairs.

The homeowner has unsuccessfully attempted to recover more than $28,000 from the contractor. 


Unusually High Estimate Serves as Red Flag for Homeowner

A Hillsborough County homeowner filed a Hurricane Irma claim for damage to his roof.  He entered into a contract with a roofing company and the company submitted an estimate to the insurance company for $97,000. The homeowner questioned the estimate since he was aware that several of his neighbors had obtained roof estimates that were $50,000 cheaper. 

Upon contacting the insurance company, the homeowner was advised that the claim was in litigation. The homeowner had no knowledge that the contractor had retained an attorney and that a lawsuit had been filed against his insurance company.  
Man with clipboard inspecting home for work estimate

Woman signing electronically on a tablet

 

An Unexpected Assignment of Benefits Contract

A roofing contractor solicited a homeowner to perform a roof inspection. The contractor indicated that damage existed and presented the homeowner with an iPad for signature to allow him to “work with her adjuster”.

The homeowner did not understand what she signed until she received the claim payment, which listed the roofing contractor as a payee.  Upon contacting the insurance company, the homeowner was advised that she signed an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) and explained what an AOB was. The homeowner was quite upset and felt swindled and unsuccessfully attempted to rescind the AOB.  

To learn more about Assignment of Benefits, review the Assignment of Benefits Consumer Tips Guide.

Homeowner Fears Foreclosure After Contractor Disappears

A Jackson County homeowner filed a Hurricane Michael claim and signed an AOB with a contractor. Upon receiving payment from the insurance company, the contractor completed some initial repair work, stopped and refused to communicate with the homeowner.

Several months later, it was discovered that the contractor was previously arrested in Bay County for working without a license and defrauding homeowners of more than $122,000. The home has still not been repaired and the homeowner is afraid that he will lose his home to foreclosure. 

Man worried

Photos serve as examples only. They do not represent the specific homes and individuals in the consumer stories. 

Contact the Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate

 

Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate
200 East Gaines Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399
Phone: (850) 413-5923
Email: YourFLVoice@MyFloridaCFO.com

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