Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hailstones bring out the Roofers and Chicken Little

This past April a hail storm blew through my neighborhood. The hail was marble size, with some being the size of two marbles. In addition to the damage that my 20 yo asphalt shingled roof incurred, numerous holes were blasted through my porch covering and the stain on my 700 sq feet of wood deck was chipped away to bare wood in hundreds of spots. Fortunately, the house roof does not have any leaks and most amazing of all my garden of peas, green beans, peppers and tomatoes survived with minimal carnage.

It didn’t take long for the roofing companies to bear down on the neighborhood. Within one day of the event, I had several calling cards at my door and within weeks roofing company signs were sprouting up in the yards around the area. However, it has taken more than a month for the first new roof to go up. I had intended to wait, check out each roofers work and decide which to call – then a roofer caught me at home.

He explained how prices were escalating weekly, shingles were getting scarce and there was even talk of rationing shingles to certain areas of the country. Heavens to Betsy, the sky is falling. He also explained that with time, hail damage can become obscured, so I needed to act quickly. Furthermore, he stated whether you file a claim or not, your rates will increase, since nearly everyone in the neighborhood is filing. This high pressure approach may work on some, but it was way over the top for me. I asked him for an estimate and politely kept my sarcasm to myself.

After the roofer made some measurements, his initial rough bid nearly doubled. Wow! He noticed my shock and suggested that they could do some things to help me with my deductible. Hmmm. So, the roofer over charges the insurance company and refunds the money to the homeowner to get the roof contract. I despise insurance – the incentives are all misplaced. Does anybody repair roofs anymore? If there was no such thing as insurance, home owners would try to get a lot more mileage out of their roofs and save a lot more landfill space in the process.

I thought it was interesting when the roofing contractor told me that no one replaces their roof unless the insurance company is paying – even in Ross Perot’s neighborhood. This particular roofer did not convince me that the roof was actually damaged and even suggested that he should be there to talk to my insurance adjuster to help seal the deal.

I wanted another opinion – did I really need a new roof? I called my insurance agent who informed me that I had to file a claim to get an adjuster to examine the roof. The agent assured me that the claim would not go against me unless they paid out money. Thanks a lot. So, I called another 1-800 number to get a claim number and was told that a third party contractor would be my adjuster and that he would call to set up an appointment within 3 days. He called me at 9:47 PM on the second day to arrange to view the roof another 4 days later. He gave me a window between 2 and 4 PM and then didn’t show up until 5:15 PM. Darn, I missed work for this.

The adjuster climbed up on the roof, made some measurements and then pronounced the roof “totaled”. I have heard that some adjusters are able to give an estimate of the insurance payout right on the spot, but not this guy. He said he would get back with me via e-mail once he figured up the squares and itemized the costs. Hopefully, I will hear something within the next week before the sky falls in. ;)


  1. Your post is very interesting. I train new adjusters and this presents good training opportunities. I agree your adjuster should have called you to let you know they were running late. Most carriers also require first contact estimates where the adjuster writes the estimate out on the scene. Why you haven't heard from him yet I don't understand. Some carriers do not allow independent adjusters (versus their staff adjusters) to present estimates to insureds without the estimate being reviewed and approved by the staff claim manager so that is my guess on what is going on here.

    I'll be interested in hearing how this turns out for you.

    From the roofers standpoint, that is insurance fraud offering to cover an insureds deductible....something the insurance department who monitors contractors storm activities would be most interested in as well as your insurance agent.

    Do I have your permission to use your post for training purposes for new adjusters about what NOT to do? I'd like to use your post on these two websites with your permission. online claim mentoring site for new adjusters adjuster information blog

  2. yes, you may reference my blog. I hope it will be useful for training adjusters.

    I will have more posts on this topic as the saga continues....