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California Contractors Network Self Insured Group Warns against Unlicensed 'Contractors'.

Disaster Brings out Unscrupulous, Illegal Contractors - Homeowners Warned

ONTARIO, Calif. -- "When disasters such as the devastating fires that destroyed wide swaths of Southern California occur, the vultures come out to further victimize people already vulnerable," warned Tom Wheeler, President of California Contractors Network Self Insured Group. This member-owned association of licensed contractors - which represents 130 contractors with more than 25,000 workers across California - warns homeowners to beware being duped into hiring unlicensed contractors to do clean-up and repair work.

"That's why we're issuing this warning. On top of the hundreds of thousands of families who've been damaged by the firestorm," Wheeler said, "thousands more will be further victimized by hiring unlicensed 'contractors' who are not legally able to do the work, and often never return once a fat deposit has been paid."

Wheeler noted that some 14,000 insurance claims have already been filed in California, with insurers expecting to pay up to $1.6 billion for wind and fire damage to homes, farms, vehicles and businesses.

"That kind of money will draw the worst of the worst to try to make a quick buck at someone else's expense," Wheeler said. "We saw it in the aftermath of the Lake Tahoe fire last summer - and only quick and decisive action from the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) stopped homeowners from losing more than they ever imagined."

The state license board set up a sting operation in which agents posed as homeowners seeking repairs, and found plenty of unlicensed scam artists ready to take their money. The scammers acted as if they were licensed contractors and illegally sought work in the Lake Tahoe (Angora) Fire Disaster Area. Five Nevada contractors and one unlicensed California contractor were arrested and sent to jail.

Contracting for work in California without a valid contractor's license is against the law. Homeowners in the California fire disaster area are urged to make sure a contractor is licensed in California by checking online at: www.cslb.ca.gov, or call the CSLB's automated phone service at: 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).

About Self Insured Solutions

With offices in Ontario, Self Insured Solutions (http://www.calsig.com) is one of California's most successful developers and administrators of private self-insured workers' compensation groups (SIGs).

Self Insured Solutions offers hands-on safety services to members of California Agricultural Network (www.cansig.com), California Agricultural Products (www.capsig.com), California Farm Management (www.cfmsig.com) and California Livestock Producers (www.clpsig.com), as well as California Contractors Network, a self-insured group serving the building and construction industry (www.ccnsig.com).

Each of these self insured workers' comp groups is managed by Self Insured Solutions, and - with the exception of CCNSIG, which serves the construction industry - each exclusively serves one segment of California's multi-billion dollar agricultural industry.

For more information on about California-based Self Insured Solutions - or to interview Tom Wheeler, please contact Ned Barnett - 702-696-1200 or ned@barnettmarcom.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 6, 2007
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