AUSTIN, Texas – May 21, 2015 – PRLog — Insurance Claim Recovery Support LLC, a leading licensed public insurance adjusting firm in Austin, Texas urges policyholders dealing with storm damage property in the Counties of Harris, Travis, Brazoria, Montgomery, Fort Bend, Tarrant, Dallas, and Johnson from weather-related events occurring April 16, 2015, through April 19, 2015, to be aware of the following insurance claim essentials and potential schemes:
Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has declared these events catastrophe for the purpose of claims processing. Per Texas insurance code 542.059, claim-handling deadlines under this subchapter are extended for an additional 15 days.
TDI Bulletin #B-0014-14 reminds insurers, insurance adjusters, and public insurance adjusters that House Bill 1183, effective September 1, 2013, establishes prohibited conduct of insurance adjusters, public insurance adjusters, and roofing contractors.
Roofers and contractors are prohibited from acting or advertising to adjust claims for any property for which the contractor is providing or may provide roofing services, regardless of whether the contractor holds a license to adjust insurance claims. A roofer or contractor may not advocate on behalf of a consumer or discuss insurance policy coverages and exclusions, and it is important you don’t get caught up in a fraud scheme. See FAQ regarding unlicensed individuals and entities adjusting claims and TX statute 4102.163.
Consumers are urged to keep the following in mind:
· Texas does not require roofers to be licensed. Be careful of any roofer or association that states they have a roofer license or claims to be a licensing entity. This could be a fraudulent scheme.
· Be wary if a contractor tells you of their experience in settling insurance claims or in dealing with insurance carriers and adjusters. Contractors are expressly prohibited from negotiating your claim with the insurance company and, other than providing and/or explaining an estimate to repair the damages that occurred, they should not be involved in the claim process.
· Read contracts carefully before signing them. If the fine print says that you are authorizing the contractor to deal with the insurance company on your behalf, you can assume that the contractor is ignoring the requirements of the law above and may be a part of a scheme.
· Do not sign contracts that assign all or a portion of an unsettled claim to the contractor and do not sign contracts that do not have a stated price for doing the work. Often we see contracts where the work will be done for “insurance proceeds recovered.” Many jurisdictions have found these contracts to be invalid because they do not state the exact price that is to be paid.
· Do not sign contracts that require you to pay a contractor a percentage of the amount recovered in the claim if either party decides to cancel the contract. This is often a sign that the contractor plans to get involved in the negotiation of the claim in violation of Texas law.
· Don’t become a victim of fraud schemes such as “Roofing deductible assistance programs.” See BBB investigation of Roofing Deductible Schemes.
Contractors are Vendors for the insured. Public Adjusters are Agents for the insured who act solely on behalf of a homeowner or commercial building owner to negotiate the settlement of an insurance claim in a non-litigious manner.
Only Public Adjusters are licensed by the state department of insurance to advocate for the policyholder in negotiating first-party insurance claims. A Public Adjuster settles claims for loss or damage under any policy of insurance covering real or personal property, usually for a fraction of the time and expense of an attorney. If you find yourself in a dispute with your insurance company, we encourage consumers to contact a Public Adjuster.
TDI investigates written complaints of persons (including but not limited to an individual, corporation, association, or other legal entity engaged in the business of insurance, including an agent, broker, adjuster per 541.002) violating the Insurance Code. Violating Insurance Code Chapters 4101 and 4102 may result in criminal penalties and license denial, suspension, revocation or fines.
While there are a number of good and ethical contractors, we encourage you to know your rights. Download Texas Consumer Bill of Rights for Homeowners.
The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm, its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.