“Raze the Roof: Practical Tips and Techniques for Addressing Roofer Fraud"
Jessica Phillips joined Jonathan Morgan, a senior litigation specialist at Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, to author an article for the July 2018 issue of CLM Magazine offering practical guidance for claims professionals to address fraudulent claims made by roofers. After a storm, roofers often seek opportunities for work that can be covered by a homeowners insurance policy, and it is important to understand common tricks that some deceitful roofers might employ to game the insurance system.
Inspecting and evaluating damage to the roofing system could reveal that claims are actually being filed for mechanical (man-made) damage done by the roofer rather than by the storm itself. For example, shingles may be intentionally altered by a roofer to look like wind or hail has caused harm to the roof, and recognizing patterns and signs that point to this interference is imperative. Evaluating whether the insured colluded with the roofer is also important, as this act would void their claims in most cases.
It is critical to address roofer contracts and their alignment with the homeowners’ policy. Roofers frequently try to obtain assignment to the claim so they can pursue it without the insured’s involvement, which often contradicts non-assignability provisions in homeowner policies. Moreover, roofers often include language on the back of agreements voiding their assignment to the claim if it is denied, which the homeowner may not see if they are only sent photocopies of the agreement’s front.
It is vital to be mindful of these deceptive practices.