JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Some roofing companies will canvass a neighborhood looking for damage and potential customers after a storm.

In 2015, a roofing company showed up at Willie Roberts home to inspect it for windstorm damage. 

On Monday, On Your Side met Roberts at Bacon in the Sun Cafe.

"I don't want them to do the work they lie too much," he said.

It has been nearly four years yet he is still haunted by the incident.

"A guy came by one day and said when is the last time your roof had been inspected?" Roberts said, "They said sign this, that is to give them approval to inspect the house."

He said he signed documents based on what was said and before he knew it, his homeowner's insurance company had approved a new roof.

What he signed was an Assignment of Benefits, which gives the roofer the right to deal directly with his insurance.

A claim was filed and his roof was replaced in 2015.

But he said in 2018 the same contractor was back, for a re-inspection, he was told. 

"They said they were doing an additional inspection for additional damages and to sign a form to give them inspection," Roberts said. " I did not know it was to sign over my rights to them to do the work."

He signed the Assignment of Benefits document and in December 2018 he learned that a claim was filed for more damages.

He discovered that when a check for $14-thousand from his insurance company showed up in his mailbox.

It had his name, the mortgage company's name and the roofing contractor's name.

"Their name is on the check but I don't want them to do the work," Roberts said.

On Your Side told Roberts to go back to his insurance carrier, he did and now they're reviewing the claim.

"The lesson to other property owners is read what you are signing," Roberts said.

The Assignment of Benefits clause in insurance policies has been riddled with abuse.

This year the Florida Legislature made changes to the Assignment of Benefits to protect homeowners and insurance companies.

Some of those changes include:

  • Consumers have other options to pay
  • Contractors are limited to a small amount for emergency repairs.
  • And homeowners have the right to walk away from the project within 14 days if unhappy with the work

"Read it before you sign," Roberts said.

For now, he is holding on to the check from his insurance company, while it reviews the recent claim to determine if it is valid.

David Miller with Brightway Insurance said an honest roofing contractor will not make an unsolicited door knock, and that should be a warning sign to every homeowner.