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June 28, 2008

Governor Blagojevich warns flood victims to be wary of repair scams and recovery predators

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today warned families to be careful of unscrupulous agents offering repair services or retroactive flood insurance.  Families across the state are facing massive clean up efforts as flood waters recede.   When wide-spread damage such as this occurs from natural disasters, Illinois families should be careful to deal only with reputable agents and demand written estimates and contracts.
“As the floodwaters recede and families see the extent of the damage, their first instinct is to get repairs underway as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, predators understand that desire and take advantage of people trying to regain some semblance of normality,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “Using licensed professionals will help protect homeowners from shady dealers.” 
After a flood or other natural disaster, families and business owners should work only with licensed, bonded contractors.  The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) licenses insurance agents and adjusters and roofing contractors.  For questions about licensing or insurance call the Flood Recovery Assistance Hotline at 1-866-848-2067 (866-214-4479 TTY) Owners should take additional care when hiring a contractor to repair any damage:
  • Take immediate steps to prevent additional damage to buildings but do not get rid of damaged materials until after an insurance company assessment of damage.
  • Make sure any damage is repaired by reputable contractors; check with local building departments or the Better Business Bureau for guidance.
  • Make sure roofers are licensed and in good standing with the state of Illinois
  • Don't rush into signing a contract. Collect a number of written estimates for the job.
  • Notify the insurance company immediately and work with its representative to evaluate the damage and review your policies for coverage information.
IDFPR has posted a list of roofers licensed in Illinois.  It is especially important for home and business owners in the affected communities to make sure that only licensed roofers perform necessary repairs to their damaged property. 
Home and business owners with flood insurance should contact their insurance agent/company to report the claim as soon as possible.  A claims adjuster can come to see the property as soon as it is safe. There is a list of National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) participating companies on FEMA's website.
The Division of Insurance has developed a series of recommendations on how to work effectively with insurance companies after a natural disaster.


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