FOR RELEASE ON RECEIPT
November 1, 2012
PCI Urges Property Owners Affected by Sandy To Use
Caution in Selecting Repair Contractors
CHICAGO—For homeowners who are able to begin the rebuilding process following
Superstorm Sandy, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI)
urges the use of caution in hiring a contractor or other workers to help repair
and clean up storm damage.
“Residents in the areas affected by Sandy need our help,
and we in the insurance industry are very concerned for their well-being,” said
Chris Hackett, PCI’s director, personal lines policy. “It is our job to help them
pick up the pieces and rebuild as quickly as possible.
“However, we urge those affected by the storm to be very
cautious in selecting a contractor. As the rebuilding process gets underway,
unlicensed contractors and scam artists may be looking to cash in on the
misfortune of those who have suffered property damage. It is natural for
homeowners to be in a hurry to begin making repairs following a natural
disaster. However, they can save themselves a lot of time, money and
frustration by taking the time to check the credentials of the businesses and
individuals that you hire to repair their property.”
Before contracting for services, check references. It
can be helpful to see who is working with your neighbors who may also have
claims. To maintain your trust and business, insurers devote many resources to
ensure that the claims process is smooth, easy and meets your needs. Your
insurer and agent are excellent resources to help you access the services you
need to handle your claim.
Superstorm Sandy caused severe damage and flooding that
may require special skill and care during the cleanup and repair process. As a
result PCI urges homeowners to:
Be suspicious of any contractor who tries to rush you, especially
on non-emergency or temporary repairs. If possible, shop around for a
contractor by getting recommendations from friends and neighbors. Be wary of
anyone knocking on your door offering unsolicited repairs to your home.
Never pay for work up front. “Always inspect the work and make
sure you’re satisfied before you pay,” Hackett noted. “Most contractors will
require a reasonable down payment on work, but don’t pay anything until you
have a written contract.”
Get three written estimates for the work and compare bids. Check
credentials with the Better Business Bureau or state attorney general’s office
to see if the firm has any outstanding complaints.
Always have a written, detailed contract that clearly states
everything the contractor will do, including prices for labor and materials,
clean-up procedures, and estimated start and finish dates. Never sign a
contract with blank spaces, which a crooked contractor can alter after he’s
gotten your signature.
Don’t believe a contractor who says he’s supported by the
government. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does not endorse
individual contractors or loan companies; call FEMA toll-free at 1-800-621-FEMA
for more information.
- Avoid paying with cash; use a check or credit card instead. This
creates a record of your payments to the contractor.
information, please go to PCI’s dedicated webpage regarding the use of
contractors after a catastrophe: http://www.pciaa.net/web/sitehome.nsf/lcpublic/155/$file/Nat_Cat_Tips_Contractor.pdf.
PCI is composed of more
than 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross-section of
insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write over $190 billion
in annual premium, 40 percent of the nation’s property casualty insurance. Member
companies write 46 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 32 percent
of the homeowners market, 38 percent of the commercial property and liability
market, and 41 percent of the private workers compensation market.