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April showers bring May…fraud?

Louisiana has already seen the first severe storms move thought the state, and last weekend dangerous storms threatened the state and struck neighboring areas in Texas and Arkansas. In recent years, the predictability of storms seems to have been reduced, while the volatility has increased.

This means more storm damage, but that that damage can be more isolated. For insurance companies and their policyholders, this can make assessing damage more difficult, as some areas may suffer extreme damage, while other areas nearby may be unscathed. 

When insurance companies are slow to pay on claims, there is always the risk of bad faith lawsuits alleging the company is intentionally delaying payment or improperly denying valid claims.

In addition to issues related to the validity of claims, insureds need to be alert to the potential for fraud by unscrupulous contractors, who may flood an area with damage as soon as the waters receded or the clouds clear.

If you have received storm damage, you should be leery of anyone knocking on your door offering repair or contracting services. You should only use a licensed contractor and you should demand all contracts and any other agreements in writing.

You should also consult first with your insurance agent to determine the extent of your coverage and make certain that any work contracted for is covered by the terms of your policy.

And never sign an agreement while being pressured. If the contractor is legitimate and their offer reasonable, it should be just as good 48 hours later.

Insurancejournal.com "Disasters Declared in Arkansas, Texas Following Severe Weather," May 13, 2015

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