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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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I signed a Roofers General Contractors Insurance Claim Assistance

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I signed a Roofer's General Contractor's Insurance Claim Assistance Agreement, the section that should have the amount of the insurance allowance is blank. Is this a valid contract? The agreement empowers him to contact my insurance company, meet with reperesentative and discuss & work out the extent of the work and the amount of the payment for this insurance claim. If I breach the agreement he is asking for 20% of the final insurance allowance payment. If not paid in 30 days he will file a lien on my home. He has not seen the paperwork given to me by the adjuster. By the way the insurance company only covered 75% of the roof. I've asked him for a quote which he will not provide until I provide him with the insurance documentation. He got upset the last time I asked for the quote and asked that I not talk to the insurance company, as he is not the enemy. I was shocked to say the least. Advised I need the quote to see how short I was on the repair. Am I stuck? or can I get out of this? Additionally, I gave him a check for $500 to cover some of my deductible.

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

To answer directly, such a contract is still valid. A contract can have missing terms that may later be put in once those terms are known. If your insurance is not yet known, for example, then a preliminary agreement without such terms is still sufficient. In terms of being 'stuck', if the other party has begun working on the contract, or the contract has been in place a significant amount of time, then the contract is binding. Very few contracts have a 'right of rescission' (early cancellation) clause unless so stated either in state law or in teh contract itself. I assume that the contract has no such clause but as for state law, unless this was an open solicitation agreement, it becomes binding the second you signed off. You can get out of an agreement but it will be based on the surrender charge of the 20% that you quoted. Please understand that I am basing my answer solely from your own facts. Perhaps your contract has a right to cancel, but you would need to review it for yourself. Otherwise, by signing, you did pledge to honor the terms.

I am sorry.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can he legally act as an adjuster based on the information I located below? Not sure if this applies in Texas.

People who act as contractors for policyholders can negotiate insurance claims only if they are licensed attorneys or licensed public insurance adjusters. If properly licensed, they can negotiate only if they are retained by the policyholders. In jurisdictions that allow a contractor to work on and act as a public insurance adjuster on a single claim, I imagine some contractors are retained as both. A conflict of interest seems inherent in the dual roles, and virtually every Bar Association in America would prohibit an attorney from representing a client as a contractor and legal counsel at the same time.

As I noted in Failure to Communicate with the Insured's Contractor is Bad Faith, this does not mean that once a policyholder has retained a contractor or roofing contractor insurance adjusters should not seek out and consider their opinions. However, it is illegal for an insurance adjuster and roofing contractor to negotiate or adjust a policyholder's claim together.

Thank you for your follow-up.

He can act as your agent when he contacts the insurance company. Most contractors do so once they have a signed agreement as both the contractor and the insurance company have a vested interest in the repairs. He cannot act as his own adjuster, but he can discuss with their adjuster pertaining on potential issues that they may have missed or additional repairs stemming directly from the current loss. This is not a negotiation, it is simply an adjusted review of what the insurance adjuster may have missed.

Hope that helps.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My concern lies in that I specifically told him I didnt want to file a claim if 100% of my roof wasnt damaged. He assurred me it was. However, he premarked the roof before the adjuster arrived. He only marked 75% of the roof. The 75% the adjuster covered. I think he intentionally did this so he could go back and haggle with the insurance company. The entire time the adjuster was on the roof with hishard of hearing son, he talked about how he was so against insurance fraud. I thought it was an odd conversation. I asked him why he would only mark 75% of the roof, which he replied, "I had to give the adjuster something to do." Then he said don't worry its not over, " you still the third party work Im going to do for you. Shady, Shady. I'm still kicking myself for signing the document.

Oh, I see. Now I am beginning to understand the hesitation. Did you discuss this with the insurance company, or not yet?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Not yet. I was ok with working with him until his demeanor changed after asking him for a quote. I wanted to prepare financially for the 25%. I was taken aback when out of the blue he stated, " you need to stop talking to you insurance company. I am not the enemy." I then retraced our previous conversations and started to piece things together. And kicked myself for not getting the quote at the beginning. And of course, for signing the ridiculous document. I am afraid to discuss this with the insurance. Afraid they will say not our issue. And Im stuck with this dishonest roofer. What to do? What to do?

Thank you for your follow-up.

I see your logic and I cannot say that I disagree with it. But at least so far while you have legitimate concerns, they are really mostly suspicions. That is not enough under which to claim that the other party breached the terms in bad faith. You are always free to cancel now but it will cost you, or you can potentially wait until he starts work and then find issues with his work and his repairs, which you could then communicate to the insurance company so that they will hold off payment. This isn't ideal by no means as you are really locked into this agreement at this time.

Good luck.

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