A recent survey shows that most registered Texas voters support the licensing of roofers in the state.
According to the survey by the Insurance Council of Texas (ICT), when asked if roofing contractors should be licensed in order to repair or replace the roof on their home, 83 percent of those surveyed said yes, while 14 percent said no.
Baselice and Associates surveyed 802 registered Texas voters for the ICT public opinion poll that took place between Nov. 24 -28, 2012.
Unlike plumbers, electricians or even barbers, anyone can place a sign on their truck calling themselves a roofing contractor. The result can be shoddy work, no work or outright insurance fraud.
Legislation requiring a license for Texas roofers has been offered by Sen. John Carona of Dallas and Rep. Kenneth Sheets of Dallas. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation would be able to license every roofing contractor in order to investigate any complaints or problems.
Oklahoma has had a similar law in effect since 2011.
“Homeowners are getting taken advantage of all the time,” said Karen Vermaire Fox, executive director of the North Texas Roofing Contractors Association. “To get work some roofers are offering to pay or absorb the homeowner’s deductible and acting as public adjusters, which is against the law.”
Fox said her association, which represents approximately 200 roofing contractors, supports the proposed legislation that would license roofing contractors so consumers would know if the company is reputable or not.
GAF, the largest roofing manufacturer in North America, also supports the legislation. “We want our roofing products to be installed correctly and that requires proper training. Without a license, you have no accountability,” said GAF’s Kris Rynshall.
Many roofing contractors will drive hundreds of miles to find work in a city that has been hit by a destructive hailstorm. Consumers have been warned about employing these out of town storm chasers because the workers won’t be around for any warranty work. Insurance fraud investigators have also warned homeowners about roofers who actually damage roofs, to make it look like hail damage.
“These roofers are vandalizing people’s homes, so they can get work,” said Mark Hanna, a spokesman for the Texas Committee on Insurance Fraud. “It’s difficult to catch these people in the act, but experienced insurance adjusters know it is happening and they’re watching for it.”
Fox recommended that Texas homeowners get a recommendation for a reputable roofer before entering any contract. She also advised homeowners to never let someone on your roof from a cold call from a phone or off the street.
ICT’s survey also asked voters if they believed that insurance fraud had any effect on the cost of their insurance. An overwhelming 86 percent agreed.
At last report Sen. Carona’s proposed legislation on licensing roofing contractors was due to be considered in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee on March 5.
Source: The Insurance Council of Texas