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By: Jackie Callaway
Posted at 11:00 AM, Sep 09, 2022 and last updated 6:01 PM, Sep 09, 2022

TAMPA BAY — Nothing in Florida’s law stops contractors from cold calling homeowners, and ABC Action News recently found men working for one Tampa Bay roofer told residents they likely qualified for a free roof courtesy of their insurance company.

Melissa Crans caught the door knock and sales pitch on her Ring camera. Crans didn’t answer the door and spoke to the two strangers via the Ring speaker. She said she was not interested, but they persisted. The men told her an inspector would be by later to determine if her roof qualified for a free replacement.

One of the men said he represented a contractor who was reroofing homes in the Oldsmar neighborhood.

“They are just a company working with all the homeowner’s insurance to cover the cost of the roof replacements,” he told her.

Down the street from Crans, homeowner Trigg Kelley told ABC Action News three men recently approached him about a roof giveaway.

“I said I’ve already got a roofer,” Kelley recalled. “And they said, ‘we can get it through your insurance for free.’”

ABC Action News called the roofer listed on the card left for Crans to ask about the door knocks and free roof pitches. He claimed they canvassed neighborhoods hit by severe weather and offered to check roofs for storm damage that may be covered by insurance. The contractor said he would talk to the employees about using the words “free roofs.”

ABC Action News is not naming the roofer because there is nothing illegal about these door knocks. In 2021 Governor DeSantis signed a bill into law that outlawed these solicitations. A judge blocked that portion of Senate Bill 76 after a roofer filed suit claiming the law violated freedom of speech.

But former Florida Deputy Insurance Commissioner Lisa Miller and other insurance experts blame these cold calls, in part, for Florida’s skyrocketing premiums.

Miller told ABC Action News, “Insurance companies are not in the business of replacing roofs unless there is a legitimate damage claim.”

Door-to-door solicitations like these can lead to denied insurance claims and roofers suing the insurance companies. The Insurance Information Institute said more than 100,000 lawsuits were filed against Florida property insurers in 2021 alone. That represents about 76% of the suits filed nationwide.

A new law, passed in May, is expected to affect contractors who do insurance-based work. Senate Bill 2-D changed the requirement that a roof with 25% or more damage had to be replaced. If your roof meets the 2007 building code you have the option to repair it.

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