R2R Meeting 1 pdf

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November 28, 2007

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R2R Meeting 1 pdf

  1. 1. Wildfire Roadmap to Recovery: Wildfire Roadmap to Recovery: Meeting #1, November 28, 2007 Meeting #1, November 28, 2007 Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church Networking with Community Leaders, Networking with Community Leaders, Fire Survivors and State Dept of Insurance Fire Survivors and State Dept of Insurance after the October, 2007 Firestorm after the October, 2007 Firestorm Karen Reimus www.unitedpolicyholders.org
  2. 2. Upcoming Educational Events Dec 12th - Insurance (Scopes of loss, Legal issues) Dec 17th - FEMA (Registration, resources) Beginning January 10th 2008 Legal issues (San Diego County Bar Assoc) Contracts, Prop/Title insurance, Adverse Possession, Landlord/tenant City Building Depts/HOA Construction/Contracts/Loans
  3. 3. Deadline: Dec 10th to file for reduced property taxes http://www.sdtreastax.com
  4. 4. Information: Your Best Policy SoCal 2007 Wildfire Recovery SoCal 2007 Wildfire Recovery www.unitedpolicyholders.org
  5. 5. About UP United Policyholders is a not-for-profit charity dedicated to educating you so you get a fair insurance claim settlement We’re funded by donations and grants Our online information is all free of charge UP’s work gets done by volunteers who’ve recovered from prior disasters and knowledgeable, consumer-oriented professionals
  6. 6. Insurance is a vehicle to get you back home Think of your insurance policy as a car to drive you where you need to go – but remember: it’s not going to drive itself. You paid for it. You’ve got the most at stake in making sure it gets you where you need to go. You need to drive it.
  7. 7. Don’t confuse insurance company ads with reality Don’t confuse the ads insurers use to sell their products with reality. Your next door neighbor is your neighbor – your insurance company is in business to make money.
  8. 8. Insurance companies are in business When it’s time for dollars to flow back from your insurer to you, loyalty doesn’t matter -- what matters is documentation, organization and negotiation. The better you document your losses and stay organized in dealing with your insurance claim, the smoother the process will go. A three ring binder with storage pouches is a good first step
  9. 9. Good news to remember: You’re not alone Help is available (including UP’s tips, our mentor program, our network of volunteers and our sponsors) You will get through the recovery process Some insurers and adjusters pay what they owe without a fight Getting up to speed on the basics of a large insurance claim will really increase your odds of getting a fair and prompt settlement.
  10. 10. Insurance policies are contracts that give you legal rights Locate complete and up-to-date copies of all policies on your property and vehicles Check the dollar limits on your “Declarations” pages Read the "Endorsements" (extras) that apply to your policy Do the math yourself -- don’t just take your adjusters’ word on how much coverage you have
  11. 11. Getting started: Even if you think damage may not be covered, notify your agent and insurance company that your property is damaged or destroyed and you are filing a claim. If your home was subjected to extreme heat, tell your insurer to provide you with a thorough inspection from a qualified, independent professional, and write to them that you will file a future claim if hidden damage becomes apparent.
  12. 12. Be polite to your adjuster but be educated and assertive Keep a diary and jot down communications with insurance company representatives. (Many people refer to this as a “claim diary”). It is important to confirm representations and agreements in writing – even though it seems time- consuming and yet another hassle Stay in touch with others who are insured by your same insurance co. to solve common problems Go up the chain to your adjusters superiors If you feel you’re being treated unfairly, take action…
  13. 13. Advice from other disaster survivors: “Your adjuster may be friendly, but always remember he’s not your friend” K.R., home destroyed in 2003 “Cedar Fire”, rebuilt by summer 2005
  14. 14. Advice from other disaster survivors: “The information and help I got from neighbors insured with my same company made a big difference to my recovery. By sharing problems and solutions we stayed strong and all came out better” D.P., UP Board member who recovered from a catastrophic loss by working with a group of others insured by the same insurance company that insured his home
  15. 15. Don’t pad your claim If you lose credibility with your adjuster/insurer, it will delay your settlement Insurance fraud is a crime
  16. 16. State Agency Insurance Help To locate missing policies or file a complaint about unfair treatment; contact the California Department of Insurance 1(800) 927-HELP
  17. 17. Resist being rushed or pressured Do not be pressured into a quick settlement A catastrophic insurance claim can take two years or more to get fully and fairly settled
  18. 18. Be careful before signing… Don’t sign claim forms, checks or drafts that say or imply they are “final” or “full settlement” until you are sure you understand your rights, your coverage, and the full amount of your losses If your insurer asks you to sign a claim form before you know how much you’ve really lost, write in “undetermined”
  19. 19. Get independent estimates and opinions on repairs If insurance company adjusters or contractors offer to settle based on computer-generated or “lowball” estimates, get independent estimates from qualified local builders or construction professionals and read our FAQs. Aim for estimates that can be compared side by side with your insurers’ estimates.
  20. 20. Repair/Rebuilding tips Insist on "like kind and quality" repairs (e.g. redwood vs. pine, custom vs. standard) Details add up Don’t accept “lowball” estimates or sub-standard workmanship Your repaired home should have a uniform appearance – don’t accept non-matching items Check out repair professionals before hiring
  21. 21. Contractor overhead and profit Payment of contractor overhead and profit are standard items that should not be held back by your insurer 10% overhead and 10% profit are standard
  22. 22. Contractor scams are very common after disasters Before you hire a contractor, check their customer references and their license status online with the Contractors State Licensing Board www.cslb.ca.gov or call: 1-800-321-CSLB (2752)
  23. 23. Save and submit receipts to get fully reimbursed Get and save receipts for temporary rent, and “additional” living expenses and replaced items. Get a manila envelope, keep it handy and use it to store Be sure you are fully compensated for all expenses, temporary and permanent repairs, and replacement purchases.
  24. 24. Tips on replacing contents If your adjuster seems to be unfairly depreciating items, remember it’s all a negotiation – even insurers find depreciation confusing Submit receipts to get reimbursed for the full cost of everything you replace Get help from stores, friends, and the internet to remember and price lost items
  25. 25. Don’t get “snookered” Do not do any of the following without first checking with an attorney who has experience representing insurance consumers (policyholders): 1) Sign "releases" or waivers 2) Give a recorded statement
  26. 26. Resist high pressure sales tactics by public adjusters and contractors Do not hire a Public Adjuster (“P.A.”) without carefully checking their license status and speaking with at least two former clients. P.A.s work only for policyholders – not insurance companies. They are regulated by the CA. Dept. of Insurance and there are CA laws that limit their fees and how they can solicit. Insurance company adjusters are not required to be licensed. An overloaded or unethical P.A. can further delay your claim, make matters worse and/or diminish your settlement; A diligent P.A. can take the weight off your shoulders by fully documenting your claim and negotiating a higher settlement than you’d get on your own;
  27. 27. You paid for coverage and good claim service. The premiums you paid entitle you to coverage for losses and good service and you should not have to hire professional help to get a claim paid fairly. United Policyholders offers free, "road-tested" tips and information and support to help you be your own best advocate in getting the full benefits of your insurance coverage. However, if you suffer a major loss involving a large sum of money, you may need to hire professional claim help to get a full and fair settlement. Insurance companies have expert lawyers and claim professionals on their side. You are entitled to the same.
  28. 28. Advice from other disaster survivors…get educated! “Thanks to what we learned from United Policyholders, we negotiated a settlement with our insurer and avoided a lawsuit” S.R., home destroyed in 2003 Aspen Firestorm outside Tucson, AZ., rebuilt by spring 2005 “We needed a lawyer. With UP’s tips we hired the right one. We settled with the insurance company in a mediation, and now we’re rebuilding and moving on” P.T., Florida resident recovering from Hurricane Ivan
  29. 29. Get the right lawyer if you decide you need one If you decide to hire professional help, contact at least two former clients, ask direct questions and check the professional’s license and insurance Insurance is a specialty. Don’t hire a lawyer unless he or she has hands-on claim experience Visit UP’s site, read our tips on hiring professional help Visit the “Find Help/Our Sponsors” section of our website to find professional help in your area
  30. 30. For More Information: Get a free copy of the Disaster Recovery Handbook and Household Inventory Guide by emailing info@unitedpolicyholders.org, and put “book request” in the subject line Visit UP’s website and search for more claim tips, articles and helpful info at: www.unitedpolicyholders.org
  31. 31. Introduction Tony Cignarale Deputy Chief for the California Department of Insurance
  32. 32. Introduction Adam Richardson 2003 Cedar Fire Survivor and Founder, North Pomerado Recovery Group
  33. 33. Introduction Jan Rasmussen 2003 Cedar Fire Survivor, Fired Up Sister RBCPC Fire Recovery Ministry
  34. 34. Importance of Networking Community networking groups - Advocacy Groups: Fired up Sisters and United Policyholders Insurance Registering as a fire family with RebuildingRB.com RebuildingRB.com vs RebuildRB.com Form your own rebuilding email group based on neighborhood, school, or HOA affiliation, or even the contractor you rebuild with RBCPC Liaison program (swoodley@rbcpc.com)
  35. 35. Valerie Brown RB fire recovery website: RebuildingRB.Com Nov 28, 2007
  36. 36. Renee VanHeel RVanheel@San.RR.com Kathryn Homer TheHomers@SBCGlobal.net "Fired Up Sisters" founders Nov 28, 2007

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