State investigates electrician's $10,000 insurance claim - CBS46 News

State investigates electrician's $10,000 insurance claim

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David Clark with Clark Electric Company David Clark with Clark Electric Company
POWDER SPRINGS, GA (CBS46) -

When severe weather strikes, storm damage can lead to a flood of insurance claims.

"So the wind was strong enough that it knocked down two of the trunks," Homeowner Andy Taylor said.

The storm damage in Taylor's yard is massive, but it's the least of his worries.

CBS46 went undercover to investigate electrician David Clark, hired to repair the busted power meter on the side of Taylor's home. Taylor, who works at the CBS46 studios, became suspicious when Clark electric's repair estimate kept rising to over $10,000, for work that didn't appear to be needed.

"Yeah it was a mess man and now he's having to fight with his insurance company because they don't want to pay the bill," Clark told our undercover camera. "It sent a massive power surge inside the house and that damages your electrical components."

Clark told us the power surge damaged 30 percent of the circuitry in the home.

He also said that the breakers were overheated, making use of the box a fire hazard.

That's not what Taylor found after the repair.

"This was the old breaker box that was in the house and you can see there's no charring, no damage to the breakers," Taylor said.

"Do you want to explain why you're charging the insurance company over $10,000?" CBS46's Adam Murphy asked Clark.

"If you'll show it to me I'll explain it to you," Clark said.

"But you were permitted for $1,500," Murphy said.

"Yeah, but we started out the job was small and then the job just creating more and more and more," Clark said.

But Taylor's insurance company found multiple electrical repairs to the home were unnecessary.

Click here to read more about how you can avoid questionable or fraudulent claims.

"It was work that didn't need to be done and he did it anyway," Taylor said.

"Once the system starts arching then the wires melt inside the walls," Clark told our undercover camera.

"Oh really, did he have melted wires too?" Murphy asked.

"Oh yeah," Clark said.

An electrical engineer for the insurance company found no evidence of burning or electrical damage in the original meter.

"All the work that was done here was needed. I can promise you that," Clark said.

Questionable claims like Clark's are a growing problem in Georgia. They affect all of us by leading to higher insurance rates, increased taxes and a rise in the cost of consumer goods.

"It's a $32 billion a year problem and because it continues to increase it's not something that's going away," said Georgia Insurance Information Service Executive Director Jamie Kimbrough.

In fact, Georgia ranks sixth in the nation in questionable claims. That doesn't surprise Deborah Livingston.

"I did file a Better Business Bureau complaint," Livingston said.

She also feels victimized by Clark.

"He started doing a whole lot of other things. He said he had to install another circuit, another panel box because it wasn't capable of handling my equipment. He never told me what each one of these prices would be," Livingston said.

Clark told us he didn't recall Livingston's complaint. As for Taylor's, Clark insisted the work on his home was justified.

"Again, $1,500 worth of work, but you're claiming over $10,000. That deserves an explanation," Murphy told Clark.

"It sure does," Clark said.

Our investigation discovered that the work Clark did at Taylor's home failed an inspection with the city of Powder Springs and that he was operating under another person's license at the time. We've also learned the state insurance commissioner's fraud division is now investigating Clark Electric.

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