As Hurricane Florence closes in on North Carolina’s coast, North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey offers a word of support to residents whose homes and property are vulnerable to storm damage.
“I want to assure the state’s residents, North Carolina’s Insurance Industry and the North Carolina Coastal Beach Plan are robust and in the best shape they have ever been,” said Commissioner Causey. “We are prepared for the onslaught of claims that may be coming in that, once paid, will keep residents’ homes, property and lives intact.”
With the prediction of flooding a byproduct of the hurricane, Commissioner Causey ensures residents he is working closely with FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program. As soon as the storm passes and it is safe to do so, agents will be on the ground to assist storm victims to help with their property.
Also, once the storm clears, the North Carolina Department of Insurance will set up Consumer Assistance Centers to help North Carolinians with their insurance needs and concerns. These locations will be listed on the NCDOI website at www.ncdoi.com and in the local media once the locations are identified.
Commissioner Causey also encourages North Carolinians to be wise to avoid potential scams as they rebuild their homes and lives. “If you’re asked for your John Hancock or to sign on the dotted line, stop and ask yourself if this is a scam,” Commissioner Causey said. “Unfortunately, scam artists use emergency situations such as a hurricane to prey on citizens during this vulnerable time. Keep your guard up so that you don’t get ripped off.”
Commissioner Causey offered the following tips to help keep victims from being ripped off:
- Be wary of roofing sales representatives or contractors going door-to-door soliciting business. Deal only with reputable roofing and construction contractors. If you have any questions, contact your local Better Business Bureau or check out the business’ reputation through online clearinghouses such as Angie’s List or Yelp.
- Contact your insurance company before signing a contract for repairs to your home.
- Don’t enter into a contract with a public adjuster until you’ve talked with your insurance agent.
- Only work with licensed and insured contractors.
- Get more than one estimate. Don’t be pushed into signing a contract right away.
- Get everything in writing, including the cost of labor and materials, and a work schedule with a completed date.
- Get IDs from sales representatives. Write down the representative’s name, driver’s license number and license plate number in case problems arise.
- Never sign a blank contract.
- Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is completed.
Remember, insurance fraud is a crime. If you think you’re being scammed or want to report suspected fraud, please call the N.C. Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division at 919-807-6840.