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R2R Meeting 9 pdf


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March 13, 2008

Published in: Economy & Finance, Business
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R2R Meeting 9 pdf

  1. 1. Housekeeping: Childcare for R2R Meetings RSVP by Wednesday prior to meeting RSVP to 487-0811, extension 263 Childcare only with RSVP Must present child(ren) by 7:15 pm
  2. 2. Invitation to Supper at RBCPC Fire Survivors, Supporters, UPC Mentors RSVP Needed March 27th, 5:30 – 7 pm RSVP to 487-0811, extension 211 Leave request for childcare at same time
  3. 3. Additional Presentations Saturday, March 29th: 10 am – noon; Income Tax Overview for Fire Survivors Non-R2R Presentation: Sierra Club: Thursday April 2nd , 7 – 9 pm Living with Wildfire
  4. 4. Allstate Insurance Group Interviews CBS story on under-insurance today Interviewed the Allstate Group earlier this afternoon Have asked to gather footage of this evening’s program
  5. 5. SoCal 2007 Wildfire SoCal 2007 Wildfire Roadmap to Recovery Roadmap to Recovery Meeting #9, March 13, 2008 Meeting #9, March 13, 2008 When Litigation is Necessary… Strategic Use When Litigation is Necessary… Strategic Use of Legal Services & Scopes of Loss of Legal Services & Scopes of Loss Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church Karen Reimus
  6. 6. Fine print: The information provided in this program is intended for general educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice. The speakers at today’s program are volunteering their time as educators. Neither United Policyholders nor the Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church endorse or warrant the quality or services of any volunteer speakers.
  7. 7. Our heartfelt thanks to: The Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church Jann Hoff (audio-visual in the back) All our UP Mentors and Sponsors The speakers at tonight’s meeting
  8. 8. When Litigation is Necessary… Strategic Use of Legal Services Mike Bidart, Esq. Managing partner of Shernoff Bidart Darras, a law firm specializing in bad faith prosecution Mr. Bidart was named a Super Lawyer of 2004 by Law & Politics Magazine and Los Angeles Magazine. He has been profiled in the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer and California Lawyer Magazine. Supporting 2003 Cedar Fire Survivors
  9. 9. Mike Bidart, Esq. He has helped win > $300 million for victims of the 1994 Northridge earthquake His firm is one of the few to have won an underinsurance case stemming from the 2003 Cedar Fire
  10. 10. Refresher: Create a paper trail, even if it’s not your normal “m.o.” It is important to confirm representations and agreements in writing – even though it seems time-consuming and yet another hassle. Use your insurance CLAIM DIARY to create a record of everything that’s happened between you and the insurance company. Write short and to the point letters to your adjuster that outline issues that need to be resolved and problems that are delaying settlement of your claim. Always put reasonable deadlines in your letters that tell the insurance company when you expect a reply. (i.e., “Please respond no later than fourteen business days from the date on this letter). Refer to the CA. Fair Claim Settlement Practice regulations as often as they apply.
  11. 11. Go up the chain of command: Write letters to your adjusters’ supervisors, their supervisors, and even the President or CEO of the insurance company. Follow up with phone calls. Take the time to read the wording of the specific exclusions or limitations that the insurance company is relying on. Read the whole policy and whatever brochures or sales materials you can get your hands on. You may find words that show they promised or owe more benefits than they’re offering.
  12. 12. Pace yourself and resist being rushed or pressured Insurers frequently extend policy deadlines and relax requirements for proofs of loss By law you have up to 24 months of ALE benefits The CDI may help you get time extensions if your insurer unreasonably refuses You may feel frustrated and powerless at times, but you are NOT. The laws that protect you give you power A catastrophic insurance claim can take two years or more to get fully and fairly settled.
  13. 13. Your policy is a legal contract It gives you and your insurance company rights and responsibilities Cooperation, documentation, investigation Do not do any of the following without first checking with an attorney who has experience representing policyholders: 1) Sign "releases" or waivers 2) Give a recorded statement 3) Submit to an Examination Under Oath
  14. 14. Your goal is to be effective in claim settlement negotiations. Insurance policies are contracts written by insurance company lawyers. Legal arguments can strengthen your negotiating position. Read the CA. Fair Claims Regulations and/or consult with a lawyer to develop a strategy Use his or her advice and arguments to convince your insurance company to change its position without getting involved in a lawsuit.
  15. 15. Did you know? Under CA. law, your insurance company cannot require you to use a specific professional to repair/replace your property? Reg. 2695.9 Under CA. law your insurance company must give you copies of estimates and other documents in your claim file? Ins. Code sec. 2071 and Reg. 2695.9 (d) Under CA. law your insurance company must respond to your calls and letters within 15 days? Reg. 2695.5
  16. 16. Legal Issues: Underinsurance 101 If the dollar limits in your policy are not enough to cover the cost of putting you back where you were before a loss, you are underinsured. As many as 90% of those who lost homes in the recent wildfires in Southern California may be underinsured in one or more categories (dwelling, contents, ALE, other structures, etc.) Review all prior policies to determine reductions or eliminations of coverage.
  17. 17. Six basic steps if you suspect or know that you're underinsured: Step One: Calculate the total scope and amount of your losses in each major category: (Dwelling, Contents, ALE, Other Structures, and Debris Removal). If your insurer sold you a “replacement cost” policy, your total losses are what your coverage limits should have been. Step Two: Remember and reconstruct as best you can the history of how your limits were set. Step Three: Consult with previous disaster survivors and at least one experienced policyholder attorney with the goal of getting a realistic assessment of your chances of convincing your insurer to pay more than your stated policy limits. Step Four: Choose your words carefully. Consult with an experienced policyholder attorney before allowing your insurer to interview you, take your recorded statement or examine you under oath. Your own words can unintentionally harm your chances of getting paid in full. Go to "Find Help" at as a starting point to find the right lawyer. Step Five: Make a clear, written demand that your insurance company honor the promises it made to put you back where you were before a loss. Step Six: Go on record. File a complaint with the California Department of Insurance. Keep your complaint simple and general. Don't go into specifics about your dealings with the agent/broker/insurance company. Identify your company and the approximate amount of the shortfall.
  18. 18. Scope of Loss: WHAT: Defines, describes, details “as it was” dwelling loss WHY: A foundation for settling dwelling claim HOW: Should be independent/objective - A scope of loss is not the same as an estimate - A scope of loss should allow estimates to be prepared and compared “apples to apples” - A scope of loss is the basis for an independent, credible repair/replacement estimate
  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. 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 or call: 1-800-321-CSLB (2752)
  21. 21. Strategic Use of Legal Services Mike Bidart, Esq.
  22. 22. Refresher: What is a Scope of Loss? Bob Rettig Bob Rettig Construction and Consulting
  23. 23. What is a Scope? Describes in detail the building components and finishes of your home (Coverage A) and on your property (Coverage B). Addresses costs to meet current building code standards. It is based upon the information you provide. Therefore, IT IS ONLY AS ACCURATE AS THE INPUT WE RECEIVE FROM YOU. BRCC
  24. 24. Why Do You Need One? •Without a Scope of Loss, you have no way to determine if what your insurance carrier is offering is fair. •You have no leverage in negotiations. BRCC
  25. 25. Why Can’t You Get One From Your Contractor? •Contractors don’t usually provide enough detail. •Perceived conflict of interest.
  26. 26. How Do We Develop Your Scope?
  27. 27. The BRCC Homeowner Questionnaire Site Visit Interview
  28. 28. Other Homeowner Input: Plans Drawings Photos Videos Reports Receipts
  29. 29. Making Your Preliminary Scope Final
  30. 30. Preliminary Scope Feedback
  31. 31. Things to Keep in Mind
  33. 33. Your neighbor’s home is not your home.
  34. 34. Marshall and Swift and similar softwares are not detailed estimates from which to build your home.
  35. 35. Bob Rettig Construction and Consulting CA Contractor’s License 748100
  36. 36. Additional Presentations Saturday, March 29th: 10 am – noon; Income Tax Overview for Fire Survivors Non-R2R Presentation: Sierra Club: Thursday April 2nd , 7 – 9 pm Living with Wildfire
  37. 37. Invitation to Supper at RBCPC Fire Survivor Community, Supporters, UPC Mentors RSVP Needed by March 24th March 27th, 5:30 – 7 pm Fellowship Hall RSVP to 487-0811, extension XXX
  38. 38. Break Out Sessions for Fire Survivors Open to 9:30 pm: Firm Stop time Upstairs: State Farm : Dormer West Farmers : Skylight West Allstate : Upper Courtside East USAA: Small room off lobby Other Companies: Sanctuary