by Antone P. Braga
Most people think they are financially prepared for a disaster simply because they carry insurance. However, the millions of people each year who suffer disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, floods and fires usually carry insurance, though generally have only an idea based on company advertising of what they should expect, even after asking around. Just How can they possibly conceive what their damage claims could be or partake in the process in a truly informed way? Nearly everyone has been left out of the loop.
While emergency communications are essential in time of crisis, there is little if any focus on the insurance industry’s role and lack of meaningful information available to policyholders as well as to adjusters. Crucial information should reach the insuring public and adjusters alike. It not only helps to have rights and rules, where are we without them? It is always a good ending to a story when the interest of the policyholder has been served without having to horse trade or “fight.” However, much depends on an individual company adjuster’s aspirations, temperament and to what extent informed, for that to be something on which to blindly rely. There is no consistent alternative for actually knowing what to expect before adjusting begins.
If there is one thing I am sure of, it’s that most policyholders have not had access to fundamental consumer protection, not to mention insurance company timely obligations and responsibilities. The same can be said of adjusters who lack information to guide them towards that end. And, some adjusters, unknowingly or knowingly, take advantage. That is just how it is and for one reason or another there is not yet enough public pressure for government or industry to make a change. When we give up authority in the name of convenience we accede to being led, and that sometimes leads to a walk down the primrose path. That being said, if we lack the basics it makes it impossible to assume the correct attitude for collaborative thought. When it comes to disasters there is nothing more basic than the elements of recovery.
Insurance consumers definitely have a separate interest to protect, and only through apathy have they gotten themselves in this situation. They have to break free of the advertisement slogans, and find their collaborative voice. For that they now need only look before that rainy day.© 2012-2014 APBReform needs more than lip service, change takes action: This content is local to your area in that it affects virtually everyone in your area, indirectly or directly: property insurance policyholders. When the next stories run having to do with a local disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake, flood, tornado, fire, etc., perhaps think of those disaster survivors and to what extent you may have helped in their preparedness and recovery. The simple truth is still the most powerful to articulate and pass-on, especially in this day of social media. Thank you for any help you may give.