We had a nasty storm here 10 days ago. Hail the size of golfballs (or “hen’s eggs” per one local farmer) rocketed down as though the atmosphere were turning inside out. For eight minutes on that Friday afternoon one could have made a solid case for the end of the world. And then it was over.
The hail blanketed our yard like snow; a few of our screens have rips and tears. But our roof wasn’t damaged. Our roof is fine. Since the storm, however, we’ve had a flood of roofing contractors ringing our doorbell.
They all have “integrity” in their name somewhere, but calling yourself a thing doesn’t necessarily make it so. Each roofer has an in-house “claims agent”. Their glib patter goes something like this: Because of the storm you qualify to have your roof repairs paid for by your homeowner’s insurance. Hire us and we’ll do all the paperwork for you. You won’t be a dime out of pocket and your roof will be fixed!
I’m not sure what my neighbours think; I assume most of them think they’ve gotten a good deal and that for once things are breaking in their favour. I’m sure a few of them do have actual roof damage because in a storm like that one it would be odd for every roof to be unscathed.
I wonder how many of them get that they are colluding to defraud their insurance companies. Because even though that sounds like something you’d see on Law and Order, that’s exactly what is happening. These houses in my neighbourhood all look the same on the top. The builder had five styles of house, each with 4 options for the front elevation and about 10 options for outside coverings. So superficially the houses look different on the street; this one has brick and a long porch, that one over there has siding and no porch at all. On the top, though, the houses are the same. The roofs don’t change. So the claims specialist for the roofers can take photos of one damaged roof from a few angles and re-use those pictures again and again. After a storm like we had, the insurance companies themselves figure it’d be more expensive to send their own claims adjuster out than to just settle through these companies they trust for some reason. So the roofers get to do several jobs that don’t necessarily need doing, the insurance company pays for it and the people who live in the houses get a new roof for the low, low price of their integrity.