That New Roof Drain Could Cost You Thousands A warning about a new roof drain: Some roofing contractors are accused of taking on homeowners insurance claims and driving up everyone else’s premiums.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Action 9 reveals new tactics some roofers are using to control your insurance claim that could cost you thousands of dollars and drive up premiums for all homeowners.
Replacing a damaged roof at her home near Kissimmee turned into a nightmarish ordeal for Helen McCoy.
“I thought it only happened to other people,” McCoy said, while fighting back tears.
She found a contractor online and asked for help with a new roof installation that was delayed after her husband died suddenly from COVID-19.
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“I thought my husband would be really proud of me doing this,” McCoy said.
Instead, McCoy said she felt caught out by the owner of Timothy Parks Roofing and Construction. She says Parks promised to handle everything and give up the franchise.
In the complaint she sent to state regulators, she said Parks wanted a public expert he had chosen to review his insurance and damages.
McCoy said she signed the document. “He said, ‘Trust me, it’s just for the public adjuster to look at your insurance. “”
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Later, McCoy discovered that the document was a contract that gave the roofer and the public adjuster control of her insurance claim, and it stipulated that she had to pay a deductible.
She started asking about getting quotes and other documents.
McCoy said he was told, “He has nothing to show me. He never gave me a quote. »
“Do you feel betrayed by this roofing contractor? Todd Ulrich asked.
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“Yeah, absolutely,” McCoy replied.
She says when she tried to call it all off, Timothy Parks demanded a partial payment penalty or he would place a lien on her house.
“It’s almost certainly a trap,” McCoy said.
Just three years after Florida lawmakers restricted Assignment of Benefits (AOB) contracts, which allowed roofers to take on insurance claims, some contractors are using new tactics to gain control.
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The Florida Legislature found that AOB contracts inflated claims, fueled lawsuits, and triggered higher premiums for all homeowners.
Many insurance adjusters warn that some roofers are using loopholes to cause the same damage, such as partnering up with public adjusters from the start.
“You have individual contractors and public experts who will just knock on doors and put hangers on doors,” Barry Gilway said.
Gilway is the CEO of Citizens Insurance, Florida’s insurer of last resort.
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He says the AOB reforms have only gone so far and warns of new gimmicks to approach homeowners.
Gilway said owners might hear, “You know it won’t cost you a penny. I’ll just bill the insurance company for it. It’s free.”
The potential pitfall involves roofing contractors signing up homeowners with public adjusters, claims consultants, or attorneys before the homeowner has a chance to contact their insurance company.
Another tactic that some local roofers use is a payment order contract, where any claims paid are collected by that contractor.
Critics say it’s another version of AOB abuse.
Insurance expert Tom Cotton said: “If you sign an AOB or payment instruction, you’re done, then the contractor has full control.”
Parks replied to Ulrich. He denied doing anything wrong and said he never gave up the franchise.
Parks said the contract fully disclosed the public expert, the fees, and his company would do all the work.
Parks blamed McCoy for refusing to sign a paycheck he worked hard to get.
“I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t expect that,” McCoy said.
Don’t sign a roofing contract on day one. Get at least two quotes and keep control of your insurance. If you need to, you can dispute the claim later with a public expert or lawyer.
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