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Contractors swarm damaged neighborhoods after severe weather

KHOU, February 14, 2017

By: Larry Seward

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas– Storm victims anxious to repair and clean-up damage quickly found more help than they imagined with many offers coming uninvited.

Several homeowners in Bridlewood Estates boarded up windows and sawed toppled trees that blocked driveways. Storm victims rushed to patch their battered homes before things got worse Tuesday evening.

“(Our) ceilings are ripping,” Tia Buchanan said of her family’s home. “The roof is damaged. We have trees blocking everywhere.”

Steve Mittanck had someone’s silo in his backyard. His home had so much damage, insurance adjusters told him it will take three to six months to repair. It left Mittanck and his wife to discuss their next step.

“Do we want to go with our insurance adjuster and his recommendations or do we want to just work through some of these guys that are just dropping off cards,” he said. “We probably had 15 to 20 roofers come by and give us their cards.

Contractors cruised the neighborhood for customers hours after the storm.

“It just seemed a little, not heartless, but maybe a little uncalled for hours after this stuff has gone on,” Mittanck said.

According to Texans for Lawsuit Reform, storm chasing is the new ambulance chasing.  The group claims lawyers send contractors and insurance adjusters to drum up business during hail storms.  TLR, allies of insurance lobbyists, claim a 20-fold spike in Texas insurance lawsuits filed in the last 10 years, according to the group’s website.

For that reason, Governor Greg Abbott wants Senate Bill 10, filed Monday, to pass and end abuse.

However, critics claims such action only makes insurance companies richer and hurts consumers filing legitimate lawsuits.

Stafford Police used Twitter to tell people looking to make money off storm victims to stay away Tuesday.

“We’ve got a lot of business cards,” Mittanck said.

Further south, Mittanck cheered his insurance company for quickly sending a crew to nail everything down.