10 signatures reached
To: Alabama State Attorney General Steve Marshall
Stop homeowners insurance companies from lowball estimates after a claim
There is a very real problem of home owners’ insurance companies not paying out realistic amounts to rebuild or reconstruct homes after a disaster. There isn’t clear information on how they come up with their pricing. Additionally, their estimates do not take into consideration a homeowner’s region or locale. For instance, writing estimates based on the competitive market of Atlanta, Georgia but for a homeowner in rural area of southern Alabama. They calculate estimates of cabinetry based on a blanket “linear feet” amount, but purchasing cabinetry is much more complex than that. They are also writing estimates for the lowest end materials, despite proof of the quality of a homeowner’s actual materials. Other issues include: not following up in person with the home, overseeing the progress, not holding their contracted vendors accountable, not collecting photos of damages, inconsistently authorizing removal of items in a home as losses that sustained little to no damage, while refusing to remove or restore actual damages. The said insurance companies are paying substantial amounts to their own vendors for the initial demolition, but paying very little to the homeowner for the reconstruction. They are not taking into consideration inflated costs of materials and current economy. They are refusing to assist homeowners with finding suitable and ethical contractors who are willing to work for lowball estimates and leaving homeowners to fend for themselves. When homeowners present receipts and repairs of work higher than the insurance estimates, the company refuses to pay the difference. Action to take: Homeowners insurance companies need several local vendors to choose from or be willing to pay the difference, especially in rural areas with no competitive market. Change algorithm for how the costliest projects of home remodeling are calculated to reflect the actual process such as how cabinetry and flooring are calculated and estimated. Establish compassionate instead of contentious relationships with disaster victims. Dismantle having “in-house” vendors with companies having their own inside vendors, essentially paying themselves which is a conflict of interest, have a an objective and unbiased third party chain of command in place to navigate, address, and mediate consumer complaints.
Why is this important?
This is a real problem, and there are those that do not have the financial means to front costs or pay for the rebuilding of their own home. The contracting industry exploits victims snd the very companies that should be protecting victims of disasters, are part of that exploitative industry. There are victims displaced from their homes because the insurance company doesn’t pay what it actually costs to rebuild. They leave victims to fend for themselves. We need to raise awareness and take a stand for those who can’t or those that don’t even realize they are being done wrong.