By Désirée Ávila, M.A., P.A. | firstname.lastname@example.org
Realtor®, PSA, e-Pro-, AHWD, SRS, ABR, SFR
C2EX- Commitment to Excellence endorsed by the National Association of Realtors
If you are tuned in to NextDoor or other neighborhood apps or groups, people going door-to-door offering goods and/or services have become a weekly if not daily occurrence. Some of those door-knockers may be genuine, bonafide hardworking people looking for work, but in many cases they are not. In fact, recently a door-to-door scam has been targeting homeowners and their insurance companies, causing homeowners insurance rates to go up.
Don't Sign on the Dotted Line
The scam works because it entices homeowners to do repairs at the insurance provider’s cost. They will tell you that they can help you remodel your kitchen, get a new roof or repair some damage to your home by billing your homeowner’s insurance. They will tell you need to sign some paperwork in order for them to go to work for you.
However, what they are not telling you is that you are not hiring a contractor or an adjuster to work on your behalf. In fact, you are hiring an attorney that will be representing you as the plaintiff in a law suit in which you will be suing your insurance company. So whatever you do don’t sign on that dotted line!
We generally hire attorneys to help us with problems as trust them to work on our behalf. But there are many attorneys out there that abuse their knowledge to take advantage of others. Once such attorney, Scot Strems of the Scot Strems Law Firm located in Coral Gables has made a fortune out of scamming insurance companies and unsuspecting homeowners. But Strems is not a lone wolf, there are many other firms involved in this grift.
While their pockets are bursting at the seams with dirty money the stability of Florida’s homeowner’s insurance industry has been imperiled and many a homeowner has been branded with a scarlet letter “L” for lawsuit. That “L” follows homeowners around forever. It can result in their current insurance carrier canceling their policy and/or higher insurance premiums in the future as they are now considered a higher risk client (Hurtibise, 2020).
The Cost of the Scheme to Homeowners
Homeowners that signed on to schemes like those perpetrated by Strems are branded for life but they are not the only ones paying for it. According to one report (Hurtibise, 2020) the scheme is responsible for insurance companies rising premiums. The rise in premiums across the state is purported to be as high as 30% to 40% in some cases. This rise in premiums affects all homeowners, not just those that were hoodwinked.
Strems, who according to the complaint filed with the Florida Bar, was “the head of a vast campaign of unprofessional, unethical and fraudulent conduct that now infects courts in communities across the state“, has been temporarily suspended from practicing law. Based on the litany of complaints and fraud that he perpetrated it is unlikely he will ever practice law again.
While Strems is unable to practice law, attorneys like Strems are just like cockroaches, once you get rid of one, hundreds of others pop up in their place. So homeowners, if someone comes knocking at your door, BEWARE! Most reputable service providers are not going to come knocking at your offering something too good to be true.
Hurtibise, R. (2020, December 07). ‘Shady’ Insurance Lawyer Ripped Off Fla. Owners. Retrieved December 21, 2020, from https://www.floridarealtors.org/news-media/news-articles/2020/12/shady-insurance-lawyer-ripped-fla-owners
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About the Author
Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for over 33 years. In addition to publishing LivingInOaklandPark.com, Désirée has been featured in print publications, locally and abroad. Désirée was an award winning teacher for 10 years and has a doctoral level education in Educational Technology. She is currently a licensed Florida Realtor® and is committed to a high-level of professionalism.
Désirée consistently professionally develops herself and has earned several different professional designations and certifications in real estate including the PSA, e-Pro, AHWD, SRS, ABR, and SFR. She was also awarded the C2EX, Commitment to Excellence award by the National Association for Realtors (NAR). This award is given to Realtors® that distinguish themselves for their commitment to excellence in the real estate industry.
She is esteemed by her real estate colleagues and has consistently received 5 star reviews from her clients. Her philosophy about real estate is that being a Realtor® is a way of teaching and helping people, and in the process a real estate transaction may occur, that is to say her foremost priority is and has always been about helping others.
She is dedicated to her hometown of Oakland Park and works consistently on building and fostering a strong community. She is passionate about photography and loves to read books about history ; the more detail the better! In addition to English, Désirée is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian.
Visit her real estate blog at www.DesireeRealtor.com
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