Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Insurance Fraud Awareness Week

This week is Insurance Fraud Awareness Week in Minnesota and caps off a nine-month study during which some Minnesota state legislators have been looking at the issue and will be presenting suggested reforms to the public and the full Legislature later this week.  Insurance fraud affects all of us by causing higher premiums.  

In the disaster restoration industry, shady contractors account for a significant amount of insurance fraud.  Many times after a large storm or natural disaster, unlicensed contractors will canvass damaged neighborhoods looking to make a quick buck.  They may demand a large down payment and then disappear without finishing the work or they inflate or invent damage to pad their billings.  

When hiring a disaster restoration contractor, check with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry  to see if a contractor is licensed.  You can find the license look-up tool here: MN License Look-up.  Licensed business contractors in Minnesota are required to carry the proper insurance and part of the licensing fee we pay goes into a Contractor Recovery Fund.  This fund compensates property owners who have suffered a loss due to a licensed contractor's fraudulent, deceptive or dishonest practices, conversion of funds or failure of performance. Another good resource to find out information about contractors is the Better Business Bureau.  Here is a link to our BBB profile: Restpro Profile

For more information about insurance fraud and what you can do to prevent it, check out the MN Insurance Federation website at MN Insurance Federation and the Stop Fraud MN Facebook Page.