Can contractors give insurance advice?

Published: June 29, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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The May 4 windstorm that hit Ontario and Quebec has raised many questions. It was the largest insurance loss in Ontario since 2013 and has led to many reassessing how smaller frequent events can impact. One of the important side discussions emerging from the storms is the roles of contractors and adjusters.

Reports (albeit unconfirmed) suggest contractors assessing property damage on behalf of homeowners may has given insurance advice.

While insurance adjusters are used to assess property damage, contracters are also used, whether they are employed by the homeowner or the policy provider. Even in terms of their own jobs, contractors are often limited. For example, an electrician can assess damage of electronics, but cannot offer additional advice regarding plumbing.

Still, contractors are often well-versed in water damage and see it frequently. Does that mean they should offer advice to policyholders?

“The downside to that is he’s not an adjuster,” Skip McHardy, director of catastrophe response (Canada) with Catastrophe Response Unit Inc., told Canadian Underwriter. “He can’t talk about policy, deductible, coverage, actual cash value or sublimits – all of the things only an adjuster can legally discuss with an insured.”