Beware of Fraud! IBHS Recommends Following Essential Steps to Hire Quality Contractors Post-Hurricane Florence

RICHBURG, S.C., Oct. 5, 2018 – As families begin to rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Florence, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) recommends that homeowners stay vigilant against being victimized by fraudulent roofing contractors. A recent conviction in the Houston area of a fraudulent contractor taking advantage of homeowners following Hurricane Harvey is a good reminder.

“Unfortunately, severe storms can bring out the worst in people, especially crooked roofing contractors who take advantage of homeowners’ needs to repair or replace their storm-damaged roofs,” said Fred Malik, vice president of IBHS’ FORTIFIED programs. “These bad actors often make false promises, insist on full payment before work begins or is completed, and even create damage where none existed. Remember, price is only one element of the criteria for selecting a roofing contractor. Professionalism and quality workmanship also should weigh heavily on your decision.”

In coastal areas of North Carolina and South Carolina, many homeowners are choosing to build back stronger by installing FORTIFIED roofs that will better stand up to Mother Nature next time she wreaks havoc. Based on more than 20 years of scientific research and real-world testing by IBHS, FORTIFIED standards go beyond building codes, improve performance against natural hazards and reduce the risk of personal property losses. Many roofers and contractors have been trained through IBHS’ FORTIFIED Wise™—Roofer training workshops. To access these trained, quality roofers, please visit the FORTIFIED Service Provider Directory.

IBHS urges homeowners to follow these essential steps when hiring a roofing contractor:
 Check for a permanent place of business, street address, telephone number, federal Tax Identification Number (EIN) and, where required, a valid business license issued by the state, county or city.
 Request verification of professional liability insurance and verify if the contractor is bonded.
 Look for a company with a proven track record; ask for and check client references and request a list of completed projects.
 Insist on a written proposal. The proposal should include complete descriptions of the work and specifications, including approximate start and completion dates, total cost and payment procedures.
 Check to see if the contractor is a member of any regional or national industry trade associations, such as the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA).
 Check with your local office of the Better Business Bureau for any complaints that have been filed about the contractor you plan to hire.
 Have the contractor explain his/her project supervision and quality control procedures.
 Carefully read and make sure you understand any roofing warranty offered; watch for provisions that would void the warranty.

“Following these steps will help a homeowner take precautionary actions to avoid getting caught in a scam,” Malik said. “There are many good contractors out there. Take the time to find a quality contractor because the roof is a major investment and the most important part of keeping your home intact during severe weather.”

About the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
IBHS’ mission is to conduct objective, scientific research to identify and promote effective actions that strengthen homes, businesses and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss. Learn more about IBHS at www.disastersafety.org.