Hire roofers with workers comp . . . sounds pretty obvious. Most folks know, when searching for a roofing company, to make sure they are licensed and insured. What many don’t realize is that “insured” often only refers to general liability insurance. GLI protects the homeowner should the contractor cause damage or injury to them or their property. But what about workers comp?
Workers Comp Cheaters
You won’t hear us siding with insurance companies very often but …
An article in the Insurance Journal found 60% of Florida roofing contractors do not carry proper workers comp insurance (WC). Not much has changed. Indeed, that number rises as you go further south. Many of the roofing contractors in South Florida that do carry WC are cheating by only covering a few, if any, of their workers..
This has created an unfair competitive disadvantage for contractors who play by the rules. They pay higher premiums to compensate for those who are gaming the system. According to a high ranking WC official in Tallahassee there are only four compliance officers assigned to WC enforcement in all of Monroe County and Miami-Dade County. State and local authorities are too constrained by the budget crunch to effectively enforce the WC laws in the field, so the free-for-all continues.
Homeowners Must Protect Themselves
To homeowners this may seem like someone else’s problem. Few realize that if a worker is injured on their property and is not covered by WC it is them – the homeowner – that can be held liable for their medical expenses. Unfair? You’ll often hear the state warn of unlicensed contractors with no GLI . Not much is said about the burden they place on homeowners regarding WC laws . This trend will continue until homeowners (voters) make it known to their State Rep. that they want the WC Laws enforced.
Hire Roofers with Workers Comp – and Verify!
To protect themselves, homeowners can only be sure that everyone working on their roof is covered by calling the roofing company’s carrier. That can be found on their insurance certificate. Legitimate contractors should have no problem with supplying this information.
In over 25 years of roofing in Miami, a state WC Compliance Officer has never checked out a roofing project we were working on. Sometimes I wish they would.