20 States Join NICB to Combat Contractor Fraud

OAK BROOK, IL, MAY 21,  2024 —  Twenty states across the nation are joining together with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the insurance industry’s association dedicated to preventing and prosecuting insurance crime, to fight contractor fraud that often occurs after a natural disaster. NICB works to educate homeowners and business owners about how to avoid becoming a victim of deceptive contractors as part of its annual .Contractor Fraud Awareness Week (CFAW), which runs from May 20 to May 24, 2024.

“Contractor fraud, especially after a natural catastrophe, not only affects individual homeowners, but also impacts insurance premiums and costs Americans billions of dollars every year,” said David J. Glawe, President and CEO of NICB. “This type of fraud not only undermines trust within communities but also inflicts significant financial and emotional harm on families across the nation.”

Last year was a historic year for billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in the U.S. with 28 separate events costing at least $1 billion and totaling more than $93 billion in catastrophe losses. Upwards of 10 percent or $9.3 billion is lost to post-disaster fraud.

The following states and Puerto Rico have officially recognized Contractor Fraud Awareness Week to combat this growing trend:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Connecticut
  4. Florida
  5. Idaho (Press Release)
  6. Illinois (Resolution)
  7. Indiana
  8. Louisiana (Press Release)
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Missouri
  11. Mississippi
  12. Montana
  13. Nebraska
  14. New Hampshire
  15. North Dakota
  16. Oklahoma
  17. Pennsylvania
  18. South Carolina
  19. West Virginia
  20. Wisconsin

NICB partners with government agencies, as well as insurance carriers, to educate homeowners and businesses on how to avoid becoming victims of insurance fraud. NICB also sponsors public awareness events across the country and works with local law enforcement agencies to help catch fraudsters taking advantage of hardworking Americans. Additionally, NICB participates in federal, state and local task forces, fusion centers, and intelligence groups, while working strategically with lawmakers and regulators in all 50 states to boost efforts by insurers and law enforcement to combat insurance fraud.

“Contractor fraud is a crime that thrives in the shadows. By arming ourselves with knowledge, vigilance, and a healthy dose of skepticism, we can protect our homes and our hard-earned money,” Glawe said. “Homeowners should be wary of high pressure sales tactics and should seek multiple bids. Always get a signed contract and beware of upfront payments. Finally, watch for red flags and trust your gut feelings.”

NICB recommends following these tips before hiring a contractor:

Be Proactive

  • Assess Damages: If you think you have catastrophe-related damage, reach out to your insurance company, and ask for clarification on your coverage.
  • Recruit a Professional: Seek out a licensed, insured, and well-reviewed contractor before any potential fraudulent contractors come knocking on your door.

Research and Verify Before Signing Anything

  • Research and Verify: Before hiring a contractor, research their credentials, reputation, and track record. Check for licenses, certifications, and reviews from previous clients. Verify their insurance coverage and inquire about any past complaints or legal issues.
  • Get Multiple Quotes: Obtain bids from multiple contractors for comparison. Be wary of significantly low bids, as they may indicate substandard work or hidden costs. Aim for a balance between affordability and quality.
  • Beware of Red Flags: Be alert to red flags such as high-pressure sales tactics, vague or evasive answers, or reluctance to provide written estimates or contracts. Trust your instincts and proceed with caution if something seems off.

Stay Involved and Take Account

  • Written Contracts: Always insist on a written contract detailing the scope of work, materials, timeline, and a payment schedule that does not include large upfront payments. Review the contract carefully, ensuring that all terms and conditions are clearly outlined and agreed upon by both parties.
  • Stay Involved: Stay actively involved in the project by regularly communicating with the contractor and monitoring progress, while keeping records of all work communications.
  • Seek Legal Advice if Necessary: If you suspect contractor fraud or encounter significant problems during the project, seek legal advice promptly. A legal professional can help you understand your rights, explore options for resolution, and take appropriate action to protect your interests.

Report Fraud

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it by calling toll-free 1-800-TEL-NICB (800.835.6422).

Media Contact

If you have a question, want further information on the NICB, or to discuss insurance fraud or vehicle crime, please contact:

Joe Brenckle
Director, Public Affairs

Nicholas Zeitlinger
Public Affairs Specialist

If you are a reporter and have a request or question, please complete the Media Request Form.

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 www.nicb.org.