Le Lézard
Classified in: Business
Subjects: NPT, SVY, NAT


NICB Urges Caution as Residents Seek to Clean Up and Rebuild Following Dangerous Winter Storms, Frigid Temps, and Flooding

DES PLAINES, Ill., Jan. 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- As Americans enjoyed the holiday season with loved ones, Winter Storm Elliott hit the nation from coast to coast. According to modeling and analysis conducted by Karen Clark & Co, the winter storm caused nearly $5.4 billion in insured losses across 42 states. Separately, record rainfall, flooding, and mudslides continue to wreak havoc on residents of California with some areas of the state recording nearly a foot of rain in the past 30 days. With extreme weather impacting millions of homeowners and business owners nationwide, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is warning residents to stay vigilant against dishonest contractors and scammers.

Don't rush into an agreement with a contractor who solicits your repair work, especially if it was not requested.

"Recovering from a catastrophic weather event is a daunting task and homeowners and business owners should not be victimized twice," said NICB President and CEO David Glawe. "After most disasters, dishonest contractors use well-rehearsed, predatory practices to exploit stressed victims, as well as insurance providers, resulting in higher insurance costs for everyone."

Deceitful contractors often abuse Assignment of Benefits (AOBs) contracts by convincing homeowners to sign away their rights to any claims under the homeowner's insurance policy. Fraudulent contractors then inflate the claims to secure larger settlements ? without benefit to the victim homeowner. 

Before hiring a contractor, call your insurance company. There is no need to rush into an agreement with a contractor who solicits your repair work, especially if it was not requested.

NICB suggests the following tips before hiring a contractor:

Furthermore, some deceitful contractors will state they are supported by the government. However, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does not endorse individual contractors or loan agencies. Always request official identification from those claiming to represent governmental agencies. Consumers should call FEMA for more specifics at (800) 621-FEMA.

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, call the NICB at 1-800-TEL-NICB. For additional information, visit NICB's website, www.NICB.org.

REPORT FRAUD: Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422) or submitting a form on our website.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL INSURANCE CRIME BUREAU: Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to combatting and preventing insurance crime through Intelligence, Analytics, and Operations; Education and Crime Prevention; and Strategy, Policy, and Advocacy. The NICB is supported by more than 1,200 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $582 billion in insurance premiums in 2021, or more than 82% of the nation's property-casualty insurance. That includes more than 96% of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more, visit www.nicb.org.

SOURCE National Insurance Crime Bureau

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