Insurance Fraud Townhall In Townsend Montana
Two weeks in a row citizens in Broadwater County Montana were impacted by a severe hail storm. Damage to homes and cars in the area generated multiple insurance claims that are now currently working their way through the system.
Representatives from the Montana Office of Consumer Protection provided tips on how to avoid an insurance scam against the people and insurance companies during a townhall where Montana Securities and Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale was the keynote speaker. The townhall meeting was held on August 19, 2019, and included pointers such as:
- Check if contractor is licensed and insured.
- Confirm contractor has workers compensation insurance or Independent Contractor Exemption Form.
- Check References before hiring.
- Contact the Better Business Bureau to verify if any complaints have been filed against the company.
- Contact multiple contractors for multiple estimates.
- Always get written bids before authorizing any work to begin.
- Do not pay contractor for the work not yet completed and never for the full amount up front.
- Always pay with a check or credit card NEVER cash.
- Do not sign over your insurance settlement payment.
- Do not give a contractor Power of Attorney or permit the contractor to settle your insurance claim.
- Do not sign any contracts before your insurance adjuster has been out to survey the damage.
- Beware of high pressure sales tactics.
- Inspect the project on a regular basis and communicate with the contractor.
- Report Fraudulent Activity to Commissioner of Securities and Insurance
Some of the most important information presented was a list of things you should do to protect you and your property from possible contractor fraud.
If a citizen suspects there is a rogue contractor working to take advantage of the storm damage, they are urged to contact the officials tasked with protecting their rights.
Broadwater County Attorney Cory Swanson facilitated the meeting to help keep the citizens informed on how to make sure their rights are protected. For further information, citizens can contact the office of the Montana State Auditor @ 444-2040 or contact the Office of Consumer Protection @ 444-4500 or Mr. Swanson @ 266-9226.
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