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updated: 6/23/2014 11:11 AM

State law aims to protect against 'storm chasers'

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Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. -- There's a new state law that aims to protect homeowners against unscrupulous contractors who offer to repair the sort of storm damage that occurred last week in southern Wisconsin.

A Wisconsin State Journal report says the law's provisions seem to protect insurance companies as much as homeowners. But Sandy Chalmers of the state's consumer-protection agency says preventing insurance fraud helps consumers as well.

Fraudulent contractors, so-called "storm chasers," descend on storm-ravaged areas and offer cheap rates, often assuring the homeowners the work will be covered by insurance. Then they do shoddy work or disappear with the money, and the homeowner later finds out insurance won't pick up the tab.

The law limits what contractors can offer, and gives consumers to right to cancel contracts if insurers deny their claims.

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