OIA testified in early June before a Senate panel to offer support for Senate Bill 64 which is designed to protect consumers from storm scammers by establishing a registration process and industry standards for roofing contractors. This legislation is greatly needed in Ohio to establish standards to protect Ohioans from exploitation, especially when a natural disaster has just occurred, and consumers are especially vulnerable.
It is no secret in the insurance industry that it is not uncommon for unscrupulous roofing contractors to descend upon neighborhoods after a weather-related event. When these contractors make the rounds door to door, they will tell homeowners they need their roof repaired and they will get their insurance company to pay for it. At that point, the roofers get homeowners to sign over their insurance proceeds to them. Sometimes they take the money without performing any work or will perform part of the work, and then vanish.
Senate Bill 64 contains several key provisions that will help combat problems like this. This includes a requirement that roofing contractors register with the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board. By doing so, consumers will gain visibility and transparency as to whether a potential contract partner is legitimate. This element of the law is a good reform that will firmly establish the identity of a roofing contractor.
Other key elements include prohibiting the assignment of claims, rights, benefits or proceeds from a consumer along with requirements for clearly written contracts and cancellation rights. A crucial component of this is that Ohio consumers will be given the right to cancel a contract within three business days after signing it or receiving written notice that an insurance claim will be fully or partly denied.
Notably, more than half of states have cracked down on storm chasers. A simple Google search of keywords such as “Ohio roofing scam” returns pages of results showing the significance of the problem we have in Ohio. Furthermore, a simple search of the word “roof” in the consumer complaints that can
be found on the Ohio Attorney General’s website yields results with 1,045 companies. The bottom line: Senate Bill 64 will benefit everyone: consumers, fair and honest residential roofers and insurers.
Your Help Needed
If you have any experiences that you can share about your clients being impacted by a storm scammer, please contact OIA’s Government Affairs Manager Carolyn Mangas.