Fla. CFO to Storm Victims: Make Sure Contractor Has Workers’ Comp Coverage

September 2, 2004

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher advised Floridians coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Charley to verify that repairs to their home and property are being conducted by licensed contractors covered by workers’ compensation insurance, or who have a valid exemption.

“Understandably, storm victims want repairs to be completed as soon as possible. But, if you hire an uninsured contractor and an accident occurs, you could end up footing the bill for injuries to the contractor or employees,” Gallagher said. “Ask for proof of coverage and call our hurricane hotline at 1-800-22-STORM to verify coverage.”

Under Florida law, construction employers with one or more employees must provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Construction employers who are corporate officers or members of a limited liability company can exempt themselves from coverage if they obtain an exemption from the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Workers’ Compensation. Homeowners who employ an uninsured contractor may be held financially responsible if an injury occurs during repairs.

The department will soon launch public service announcements advising contractors of their responsibilities under the law and urging homeowners to ensure they are dealing not only with a licensed and reputable contractor, but also one covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Also available on the department’s Web site at www.fldfs.com/wc is an interactive “Proof of Coverage” database, which is available for Floridians to use in verifying coverage and exemptions.

Additional materials, information and advice on the recovery process is available online at www.dcnonline.org from the Disaster Contractors Network, a public service organization sponsored by construction employers, the Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association, the Associated Builders & Contractors, the Florida Homebuilders Association, the Associated General Contractors, FEMA, Florida State University, the Department of Community Affairs, and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

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