Roofing companies cleaning up on hail damage claims in Oahu — Hawaii News Now — KGMB and KHNL

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KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

When you think about Hawaii hail damage probably isnt the first thing to come to mind. Yet thousands of homes are said to be damaged by a freak storm last year and various roofing companies are capitalizing.

Initially when we heard about these storm chasers it sounded like a scam. But the state, customers and the companies say there really was hail damage.

It was March 9, 2012. A freak storm hit windward Oahu. A small tornado hit Lanikai and dropped a lot of hail throughout the area. As it turns out the hail is creating millions of dollars in damage claims.

"If you drive down Kaha Street in Kailua youll notice just about every roof on the street is brand new. A street like that got slammed," said Trevor Carlson, HW Roofing Regional Sales Manager.

HW Roofing has already signed up 750 homeowners and hopes to double that in the coming months.

"Just about any roof in Kailua were going to see hail hits on the roof," said Carlson. "If nobody tells you youre never going to know."

So companies are going door to door and roof to roof finding hail damage and alerting homeowners like Doug Miller.

"I never knew exactly what a hail storm looked like," said Doug Miller, Kailua homeowner. "I wouldnt have known that had these guys not come around and informed me and struck the deal to do it."

Miller happened to save some of the golf ball size hail that hit his house. He got $22,000 from his insurance company for a new roof and some gutters.

"They certainly seem to me to be legitimate claims," said Miller. "On the mainland this happens all the time its just its a new animal to Hawaii."

Not everyone has stayed high and dry. Gerhard Osterbergers house was damaged by hail, but says the repair left wrinkles, sloppiness and sogginess. And then it rained.

"If this is the old roof, they put the new roof, the paper like this, so the water runs right underneath. And thats what it did," said Gerhard Osterberger, Kailua homeowner. "They came back with a caulking gun and put some caulking underneath and I said thats supposed to work and last? And it surely didnt. The next rain it was raining like a shower."

There are various local and mainland companies doing the hail damage repair in Hawaii including Beachside Roofing and Integrity Roofing from Colorado that registered its company in Hawaii March 9, 2012, the exact day of the hail storm. HW Roofing is a local shop that partnered with Brink Roofing out of Florida.

Plenty have been skeptical of the hail business and even reported them to the State.

"In this case no its not a scam. Its a 30 year old industry. Its nothing new. Its just new to Hawaii because this is the first time any significant hail has hit Hawaii," said Justin Wofford, HW Roofing General Manager.

The state did meet with HW Roofing managers. Other than telling them they cannot act as an insurance adjustor the state says it is legitimate. But as always they remind people to research any company they plan to hire.

"It is very important for our office to be aware of possible unlicensed activity going on in the community," said Daria Loy-Goto, Complaints and Enforcement Officer with the State Regulated Industries Complaints Office.

As for the people that were not happy with the workmanship.

"Weve built over 300 roofs and as a company thats building 15 roofs a week youre going to have one or two homes that are subject to some errors," said Wofford. "We have a repair crew designed for that its called a fire team. We send them right out. Do the repairs and its fixed."

Then there is the concern that if thousands in Kailua are getting new roofs the insurance companies will raise premiums for everyone.

"Its possible but the rate increase if you divide that over time is pennies on the dollar compared to your $15,000 roof," said Wofford.

"To that I say Im glad I got in on it then," said Miller.

In many cases the homeowners have two years from the storm to file a damage claim. That deadline is March 9, 2014.

HW Roofing says all insurance companies have been accepting the damage claims except for Island Insurance which denied all but two hail damage claims. Wofford says homeowners are gathering to seek legal action. Island Insurance has not yet responded to our request for information.

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