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RoofClaim.com, a name that has caused heartburn in the Florida insurance industry for the past few years, has announced that it is now offering roof financing with no down payment in the wake of insurance rate hikes. , insurer insolvencies and underwriting restrictions.
An insurance executive said the finance plan is another method used by roofers to circumvent Florida law that prohibits contractors from offering to pay homeowners’ policy deductibles.
“It’s a very creative approach. It’s the perfect way to circumvent any franchise,” said Bob Ritchie, CEO of Tampa-based American Integrity Insurance Group, who spoke Thursday during a webinar hosted by Demotech, a financial ratings firm. “They will file a claim, raise the price and get an above-market settlement.”
Company representatives did not respond to the allegation, but said the funding plan could actually benefit insurers.
“RoofClaim.com sees the new in-house financing option as a way to help insurance companies retain customers, while allowing homeowners to enjoy a safe and secure home no matter the weather,” said company attorney Steven Houston said in an email. . “In short, we see this as a win-win for all parties involved.”
RoofClaim.com bills itself as a national service technology company, but it has become one of the largest roofing companies in the country and is responsible for hundreds of assignment of benefit claims against Florida property insurers.
The company, headquartered in Kennesaw, Georgia, has infuriated some Florida insurers so much that the industry worked with state lawmakers in 2019 to block a multimillion-dollar deal to put the RoofClaim name on it. com on the sports sites of two Florida universities, according to news reports. . In 2020, the company again drew criticism when it became the sponsor of a college football game – the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl.
‘It’s too bad’ that bowling game officials chose to take money ‘from an out-of-state operation that is the poster child for why home insurance rates are rising,’ said William Stander, director of the Florida Property & Casualty Association. the Sun Sentinel Journal in 2020.
RoofClaim.com is owned by Jasper Contractors, a Georgia-based company that operates in multiple states, the newspaper reported. Florida Secretary of State company records show that RoofClaim’s CEO is Brian Wedding, who is also Jasper’s president.
Since 2018, Jasper Contractors has filed some 657 lawsuits against multiple Florida property insurers, according to records maintained by the Florida Department of Financial Services. Most disputes relate to requests for assignment of benefits. An AOB lawsuit filed by Jasper in late 2021 against Citizens Property Insurance Corp., for example, includes the AOB RoofClaim.com contract, signed by the owner, as an exhibit.
It remains to be seen how successful the firm will be with its new funding program. The interest rate is set at 9.9%, according to the RoofClaim.com website.
And as of last week, AOB litigation may not be as lucrative for AOB contractors and their attorneys. Senate Bill 2D, approved in the special session of the Florida Legislature and effective upon the Governor’s signature on May 26, prohibits the awarding of attorney’s fees to assignees in AOB cases. It also ended the fee multiplier system used to calculate plaintiffs’ legal fees, which could discourage some law firms from accepting AOB claims.
The law also requires contractors to tell policyholders, in large print, that the owner is responsible for the deductible and that it is a crime for the contractor to pay or waive the amount.
Another bill passed in the session, SB 4D, amended the state’s building code. Until last week, code required that if only 25% of a roof’s surface was damaged, the entire contiguous roof surface had to be replaced. Now, insurers can more easily opt for less expensive roof repairs instead of replacing them.
The legislation also allows insurers to offer separate roof deductibles on HO policies – up to 50% of the roof replacement cost. This could encourage more roof financing offers that would cover the large deductible, insurance industry representatives argued.
“Independent of any legislative changes, RoofClaim.com remains dedicated to providing top-notch customer service and exceptional workmanship – backed by our industry-leading, million-dollar guarantee,” said Houston, the attorney. of the roofing company.
The company’s press release does not mention deductibles or benefit assignments, but does note that the financing plan is a good option for owners who may face higher insurance premiums or for those who have been forced to find a new insurer in Florida’s struggling insurance market.
Many property insurers over the past two years have refused to write homes with roofs over 10 years old, forcing some policyholders to spend thousands on a new roof before renewing policies. SB 2D raised that age limit to 15, prohibiting insurers from dropping houses with roofs younger than that.
“With inflation on the rise and supply shortages affecting nearly every industry, RoofClaim.com is working to provide affordable solutions to homeowners who may not be able to afford a new roof for their home. pocket or who have undergone changes in their insurance coverage,” Houston said.
He added that all documents can be signed and submitted through the company’s website, RoofClaimFinancing.com. “Owners can sign all documents on their own or our customer service professionals will be happy to assist them.”
An insurance leader said the funding plan may, in fact, indicate that RoofClaim has seen the writing on the wall, written in large letters by recent legislation, and “has finally gone legit.”
Others disagreed. Insurance industry lobbyist Lisa Miller, a former assistant Florida insurance commissioner, said during the webinar Thursday that the key to reducing fraudulent or exaggerated claims on roofs, or efforts by roofers to cover the deductible, is enforcement. strict law. She urged state regulators to contact RoofClaim.com and let the company know that its actions will be reviewed.