April 27, 2011 – In an entirely unexpected turn of events this morning, the Colorado Senate voted to kill SB11-207 – “Roofer Registration.” The bill was not killed on the merits, but rather got caught up in the larger politics of immigration reform.
During floor debate, Senator Ted Harvey (R-Highlands Ranch) offered an amendment to attach a requirement that all registered roofers must comply with the federal E-verify background check program (E-verify is a hotly contested political issue between Democrats and Republicans). The Harvey amendment was adopted with all Republicans and four Senate Democrats supporting it (Hudak D-Arvada, Newell D-Cherry Hills, Jahn D-Wheat Ridge and Williams D-Aurora). Once the E-verify amendment was attached to the bill, Democratic leadership in the Senate got cold feet and decided they could not support the bill and appear to be opposing one of their largest voter constituencies: Hispanic voters. Thus, Democratic leadership signaled to their caucus not to support the bill and it died on a voice vote (no recorded vote).
This is a tremendous disappointment to the CRA and we wish to thank the State Registration Committee for all the time and effort they put into this bill over the last 14 months. The bill was intended to elevate and clean up our industry as well as protect consumers from unscrupulous practices that hail storms tend to bring into our communities.
SB11-207 Roofer Registration = Consumer Protection
In 2010, the Colorado Roofing Association submitted a sunrise application to the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) to consider a licensing or registration program. DORA’s review revealed that during a three year period Colorado consumers suffered more than $1.4 million in losses due to unscrupulous roofing contractors. Based on this review, DORA has recommended and Colorado roofers support an important consumer protection program requiring roofing contractors to register, take and pass an examination, post a surety bond and obtain liability insurance.
Roofing contractor fraud is rampant. Colorado is routinely referred to as “hail alley” because of our frequent violent Spring and Summer storms. The DORA report found that 736 complaints were made to the Denver-Boulder Better Business Bureau against roofing contractors for the time period March 2007 through March 2010. Of these, 321 complaints reported monetary loss. In addition to financial losses consumers regularly reported the following types of problems with roofing contractors:
- Roofing Contractor took money but did not perform work;
- Roof failed inspection, contractor refused to correct faulty work;
- Roofing work performed by contractor resulted in additional damage; and
- Contractors overcharged insurance company or charged insurance company for work that was not performed.
SB11-207 provides important consumer protections. 31 states currently regulate the roofing profession. Specifically, SB11-207 establishes a registration program within Department of Regulatory Agencies. The bill defines roofers and roofing contractors and requires them to register with the State of Colorado if they provide roofing work in excess of $1,000. The registration also requires roofing contractors to pass a nationally recognized qualifications examination, secure a surety bond, and then pay a modest registration fee. In light of the DORA findings, registration is the least restrictive form of regulation recognized in Colorado and creates the fewest barriers to entry for a regulated profession in order to provide consumer protection.
SB11-207 is supported by roofing contractors. Colorado roofing contractors are often the unintended victims of unscrupulous, “storm chaser” and fly-by-night roofing companies. The shoddy, unprofessional and fraudulent work perpetrated by these bad actors damages the hard-earned reputations and creates a hostile market for Colorado’s best local roofing industry players. These same local companies have joined together to request a modest bill to provide regulatory structure and oversight to improve roofing services for all Coloradans.
SB11-207 helps to reduce insurance fraud. The bill provides two additional elements beyond roofing contractor registration: First, a homeowner may rescind a roofing contract in two situations (1) a general provision allowing cancellation a roofing contract within 72 hours for any reason; and (2) a provision allowing cancellation of a roofing contract within 72 hours once a homeowner is notified his or her insurance will not cover the roofing claim. Second, roofers will be prohibited from waiving insurance policy deductible payments. This is important because it helps prevent a roofer from inflating his or her charges for services.