Colorado Homeowner Victims overwhelmed by contractors

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October 19, 2010
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Colorado Homeowner Victims overwhelmed by contractors

This article was in the Durango Herald. It is not surprising to see that Contractors from all parts of the country are trying to get a piece of the work. The problem is they do not go through the appropriate channels, they try to leverage a homeowner into signing a contract when they have no business even approaching the homeowner. ALL CLAIMS SHOULD BE CHANNELED THROUGH YOUR INSURANCE AGENCY, SO THEY CAN ASSIST THE HOMEOWNER WITH PLACING THE CLAIM AND GETTTING THEM IN TOUCH WITH A PROVEN AND ESTABLISHED CONTRACTOR. ****DO NOT SIGN ANY PAPER WORK BEFORE YOU CONSULT WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY OR INSURANCE AGENT!!

Last month’s destructive wildfire in Boulder County left hundreds in need of new homes – and people in the construction industry looking to pick up work without seeming insensitive. Northern Colorado contractors say they’re in desperate need of rebuilding work from the Fourmile Fire that burned 169 homes. But the builders say they’re having a tough time figuring out how to seek business without appearing callous. Residents who still are sorting through their charred homes tell The Daily Camera of Boulder they’re feeling overwhelmed by business offers from contractors. Laszlo Nemeth, who lost his Sunshine Canyon home in the Fourmile Fire, says his mailbox has been filled with dozens of letters, adorned with pictures of beautiful houses, from contractors offering to help him rebuild. “They all go into the trash,” Nemeth said. “I am not ready. I am not at all ready to look at the construction phase.” However, construction companies are angling for the chance at new work. Insurance claims filed by fire victims total about $217 million, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. Fire rebuilding could be a boon for the business that has shed about 40,000 jobs statewide since 2007, according to an economic analysis by the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business. Contractors and architects have turned out in droves at public meetings about Fourmile Fire rebuilding projects. On Thursday, the county’s Land Use Department held a meeting with the building community to discuss code changes the department is working on to help streamline the building permit process. Nearly 150 people showed up for the meeting, filling every seat in the commissioners’ hearing room and then lining the walls. A similar turnout swamped the first of three Fourmile Rebuild Forums. The meetings were meant to offer useful, practical information to fire victims. But the number of contractors who showed up, about 100, overwhelmed the roughly 20 people who had lost their homes, said Julie Herman, executive director of the Boulder Green Building Guild. “We all get that it’s a terrible tragedy,” Herman said. “But the bottom line is that if there’s going to be this reconstruction and remodeling happening in our community, then we want the homeowners to get the best possible service and we want to keep the dollars circulating in the local community. “Everybody’s doing this kind of funny dance on this line of being helpful and looking like an ambulance chaser,” she said. The newspaper reports that county officials have asked contractors not to show up to future workshops for fire victims because the victims were feeling overwhelmed by contractors seeking work. “They appreciate and understand that most of the people mean well,” said Garry Sanfacon, who is coordinating the Land Use Department’s communication with the affected communities. “But when you get 35 letters from builders and architects – I think people are feeling overwhelmed.”

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