According to a new National Insurance Crime Bureau report, both non-suspicious and suspicious hail claims increased dramatically from January 1, 2006 through March 31, 2010.

During this time frame, the number of hail loss claims filed with insurers increased by 61 percent, from 256,000 in 2006 to over 413,000 in 2009. At the same time, the number of claims referred to NICB for suspected fraud increased by 136 percent, from 301 in 2006 to 711 in 2009.

During this period, Texas was the top state in both hail loss claims and hail loss QCs with 298,798 claims and 521 QCs. The top 10 states represented 75 percent of the total number of hail losses and 82 percent of the QCs.

“These statistics back up what our agents have been experiencing in their field investigations,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “There are a lot of unscrupulous fly-by-night roofers and repairmen who are what we call ‘storm chasers.’ They follow the storms and deliberately try to rip off unsuspecting home owners and their insurers by making unnecessary repairs or deliberately inflicting intentional damage to a roof or siding to try to get insurance money.

“The increase in questionable hail loss claims shows that insurers are on the lookout for these scam artists, and home owners need to be leery of companies offering a free roof without first checking with their insurer to ensure there is legitimate damage and the repair company is reputable.”

Is the NICB right? Is it unscrupulous roofers that are the cause of both increases? Is improved diligence by companies the sole or main reason behind the increase in claims reported as questionable? Are homeowners are losing integrity? Or are we actually seeing more hail storms as part of some cyclical weather pattern change? What do you think? Click on the “comment” button above and let us know.

As we head into Texas’ peak hail weather season, these are much more than casual thoughts for us. If you are a homeowner living in Texas, be sure to talk with your agent and be sure you have the coverage you need. If you’re a Texas agent looking for a great property market, contact us.

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