A week ago, the village of Bihucourt, in Pas-de-Calais, was devastated by a tornado. 90 homes were affected. While the workers mandated by the insurance companies have already started the work, the victims are seeing fake craftsmen pass by.
In the streets of the Pas-de-Calais town of Bihucourt, the traces of the tornado are still there. Around 7 p.m. last Sunday, a tornado took the 350 residents by surprise and sowed desolation in the village. 90 homes were affected, 48 of which were too damaged to be used, even partially, and around 150, 200 people need to be rehoused.
A week later, reconstruction work began. Since this type of event is covered by all home insurance contracts, workers mandated by insurance companies are already at work. And some take advantage of it: since the tragedy, the inhabitants of Bihucourt have seen fake craftsmen pass by.
“We need help, not to be pushed”
One of the victims, Pascal, testifies at the microphone of BFMTV to have seen, since the passage of the tornado, pass “a line of 150 roofers who came urgently to help us”. “But of the 150, there were only 20-25 sent by our insurance,” he sighs. Some claim to carry out “counter-expertise”, and that local residents are “forced to pay”.
“We are already affected enough, we are marked, we need help, not to be pushed”, plagues the victim.
Faced with this fraudulent parade, the town hall, with the help of the gendarmerie, decided to filter all the entries of experts in the town. “There was a danger, so to protect people as much as possible, we filter”, explains the city councilor Benoît-Vincent Caille. According to the mayor, these arrivals also entail a risk of “suraciddent”. “The first few days, people came from everywhere,” he recalls.
To protect the inhabitants, the municipality is also sending a message of vigilance. It reminds local residents that the victims have no costs to advance: the payment of the repair work is the sole responsibility of the insurance.
To facilitate the procedures, instead of the 5-day declaration period, the Covéa group, which owns the insurers MAAF, MMA and GMF, has announced exceptional measures, in particular bringing the declaration period to 30 days, with the possibility of an immediate advance on indemnities, and payment for rehousing for one year.