Insurance News: Colorado's Most Costly Catastrophe One Year Later

Carole Walker, Executive Director, RMIIA, 303-790-0216 / Moblie 303-601-8437
Roger Morris, Chief Communications Officer, NICB, 847-544-7085

Updated Damage Estimate $2.3 Billion and A Wake-Up Call to Be Prepared NOW for Hail & Roofing Scam Season!

May 7, 2018 — The insurance costs for the monster hailstorm that pounded Colorado's Front Range on May 8, 2017 have skyrocketed from the initial estimate of $1.4 billion to $2.3 billion-maintaining its infamous ranking as Colorado's most expensive insured catastrophe. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association is estimating the updated insurance losses for the hailstorm based on approximately 167,000 auto insurance claims and 100,600 homeowners insurance claims. The increase in number of claims filed and the final amounts paid to policyholders upon completion of repairs typically causes damage amounts to rise significantly from preliminary estimates-especially in an event of this size. 
"The one-year anniversary of Colorado's most damaging hailstorm demonstrates the magnitude of the damage that can result from a single storm," says Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. "Colorado's population boom, escalating costs to repair high-tech cars, more expensive home repair costs and increased volatility of storms are all contributing to skyrocketing insurance claims and the costs to pay those claims. It also serves as a wake-up call that NOW is the time to do an annual insurance check-up to be financially prepared BEFORE the next big storm." 
Homeowners Insurance Basics
Auto Insurance Basics  
Hail Season Means Roofing Scam Season!
Unfortunately, these storms can bring out the worst in people, especially unscrupulous roofing contractors who scam consumers needing to repair or replace their hail-damaged roofs. These fraudsters will often make false promises, insist on full payment upfront before work is completed, and sometimes even create damage where none occurred.
Think it will never happen to you? That's what 18 disaster fraud victims in Jefferson County thought before their contractor stole nearly $70,000 in upfront insurance money without replacing their roofs. Jefferson County prosecutors worked with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) to convict Jonathan McMillan, owner of Lifetime Roofing. "The Evergreen roofer hired sales people to go door-to-door soliciting roofing business from homeowners, some of them at-risk, elderly adults, with houses damaged primarily by hailstorms," says Pete Weir, Jefferson County District Attorney. "Those employees were instructed to have the homeowners sign contracts and collect as much insurance claim payments as quickly as possible. After receiving payment from homeowners or their insurance companies, he never returned to do the work. We hope this case serves as a warning to other Colorado homeowners."
Barbara Vanhagen lost more than $23,000 in the Lifetime Roofing scam and hopes her story is a cautionary tale to other homeowners. "Trust your gut, check contractor references, ask specific questions about experience, work timelines and make sure it's in the contract. Most of all, don't feel pressured and absolutely don't give full insurance payments upfront." 
"Catching these shady contractors is not easy, since many of them have moved on or reorganized their business by the time the homeowners realize they've been taken," said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. "We are fortunate to have strong support from state and local authorities in Colorado to pursue these cases and we will continue to seek every legal remedy to put these fraudsters out of business and behind bars. But storm victims have to be the first line of defense by knowing who they are dealing with and taking every precaution before paying their insurance claim money to a contractor."
Hail Damage Fraud: Don't Be Victimized Twice! Download RMIIA/NICB Tip Guide  
*Media interviews with roofing fraud victims willing to share their story are available upon request.
Selecting a Reputable Contractor & No Roof Scams Campaign:
RMIIA and NICB are part of a group of nonprofit, government, and business organizations working together to fight roofing contractor fraud in Colorado with a public education campaign called No Roof Scams. The campaign's goal is to sound an alarm during severe weather season about the spike in roofing fraud and arm Colorado homeowners with information to protect themselves against being victimized by roofing scams. Help us spread the word by using #NoRoofScams and sharing anti-fraud advice, resources and messages. 
No Roof Scams Resource Link:  
Colorado's Top 10 Most Damaging Hailstorms

Colorado's Top 10 Most Damaging Hailstorms

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Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association is a non-profit consumer information organization that represents property & casualty insurers in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. RMIIA has been serving consumers and the media since 1952.

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422) or submitting a form on our website.

About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to combatting and preventing insurance crime through Intelligence, Analytics, and Operations; Education and Crime Prevention; and Strategy, Policy, and Advocacy. The NICB is supported by more than 1,200 property-casualty insurers, self-insureds, rental car, vehicle finance, and auto auctions. To learn more, visit