Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate, national insurance group warn Ian survivors of fraud
Cars and debris from washed away homes line a canal in Fort Myers Beach. Image via AP.

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'Consumers who have already been impacted by Hurricane Ian should not also have to deal with deceptive, unscrupulous tactics perpetrated by scammers.'

Still reeling from Hurricane Ian’s destruction, residents and homeowners in the storm’s path should now be on alert for fraudulent contractors and other scammers, Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter and a national insurance group are warning.

“Consumers who have already been impacted by Hurricane Ian should not also have to deal with deceptive, unscrupulous tactics perpetrated by scammers,” Carter said. “I encourage consumers to first contact their insurance company before contracting with any third party, a party that may not have their best interest in mind.”

The National Insurance Crime Bureau, a group of insurance companies, law enforcement agencies and car rental companies, estimates 5-10% of claims after a storm involve fraud, and Ian’s toll could mean up to $6 billion in unwarranted claims.

“Recovering from a disaster is an intimidating task, and homeowners should not be victimized twice,” said NICB President and CEO David Glawe. “Take time to vet legitimate contractors, get at least three bids, and never pay a contractor in full before the work is complete. Ensure that a dishonest contractor is not further complicating your already devastating situation.”

For residents in Southwest Florida, however, vetting contractors might take time and resources that are in short supply.

As of noon Friday, more than one week after Ian hit the state, 97,443 homes and businesses in Lee County remain without power. Statewide, that total is more than 132,000. More than 1,000 people are displaced because of the storm and it could take several weeks or months for the area to stabilize.

Still, the NICB has some tips to help stay away from scam contractors after a storm, such as get more than one estimate; get costs and estimates for work completion in writing; ensure a contractor has a state license; don’t pay in full until the work is complete; and contact your insurance company before repairs are done.

Gray Rohrer

One comment

  • Maureen Dency

    October 7, 2022 at 4:40 pm

    Please listen to this as credible. My home suffered damage in the last hurricane to hit the east side of Florida. I was truly scammed. 1. I was contacted by a known person to help with navigation of the system. Later found out this person received $150.00 for my referral 2. Attorney assured me he would not get paid if I did not. He received 33% of monies received from insurance, and he hired contractors that were not finishing work which meant my home was not finished properly because I did not have the funds to finish repairs. 3. Do not sign anything before contacting insurance company. (I have no affiliation with this company )

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