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Raising questions on raising the roof

Last of a three-part series dealing with roof replacement prompted by damages to residences from the April 27 hailstorms.

The spring storms that caused widespread devastation throughout East Tennessee have created an unprecedented amount of work not only for roofing companies and contractors, but for insurance agencies as well.

“This is not a normal situation by any means. Knoxville has never seen anything like this before,” State Farm agent Mansour Hasan said.

In fact, Hasan said many insurance companies — including State Farm — have had to hire out adjusters to help handle the influx of claims being made.

“We have our own set of local and regional adjusters, but with the magnitude of claims we’re dealing with, there are companies that broker claims adjusters and ... State Farm hires that company to bring the adjusters in,” Hasan said.

“People from all parts of the country have come here to help with the volume,” he added.

Those adjusters are trained by the insurance companies that hire them, Hasan said, and won’t stay after the number of claims begins to decrease.

Homeowners shouldn’t have a problem with out-of-town adjusters, Hasan said, but consumers should ensure adjusters and contractors give specific, detail-oriented estimates — especially important when multiple aspects of a home have been damaged.

“Normally, with a claim, you’re dealing with one room or one aspect, but with this [storm], you’re dealing with the roof, the siding, the gutters, the windows, which makes it that much more difficult because you have to get all these different trades to do the different things as opposed to just having one or two things to deal with,” Hasan said.

Delays in construction and higher material prices also should be expected. Because of the massive amount of work being done, there’s a local shortage of materials. His adjusters are calling suppliers every two to three days to get the updated prices, Hasan added.

“An adjuster might have been out a month or two ago, but [a homeowner is] just now getting their roof fixed. Well, [the estimate] is going to be off because it was based on the materials that were a different cost.

“So when someone is getting their roof actually fixed, they need to have the contractor give their estimate and then send that estimate into the insurance company, which can then adjust it to the current prices for when they’re actually going to be buying the materials,” Hasan said.

Hasan had a number of other tips for homeowners choosing a contractor:

• Hire a contractor who is established, licensed and bonded, and request references

• Ask to see certificates of insurance — for both liability and workers’ compensation — and be sure both are in force and haven’t expired

• Insist on a detailed, written estimate that clearly states material needs, labor charges, work specifications, starting and completion dates, payment procedures and the need for any building permits

• Carefully review warranties and watch for conditions that could void it

• Use caution and ask questions before accepting bids that are substantially lower than other bids for the same work

Hasan said the volume of claims already was decreasing, but he expected claims to be made until the statute of limitations ends on making claims, a year from the date of the storm.

Homeowners who aren’t seeing damage now but who live in neighborhoods that sustained damage should still have their roofs inspected, but only by a trustworthy contractor or adjuster who won’t — intentionally or unintentionally — cause damage to a roof, Hasan said.

Homeowners have a year to file a claim and two years to have repairs done on their homes.

“What I would advise is that each individual call their agent and get advice from their specific agent on what to do,” Hasan said.


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