R2R Meeting 1 ppt

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November 28, 2007

Text of R2R Meeting 1 ppt

  • 1. Wildfire Roadmap to Recovery:Meeting #1, November 28, 2007 Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church Networking with Community Leaders,Fire Survivors and State Dept of Insurance after the October, 2007 FirestormKaren Reimuswww.unitedpolicyholders.org

2. Upcoming Educational Events

  • Dec 12 th-Insurance (Scopes of loss, Legal issues)
  • Dec 17 th -FEMA (Registration, resources)
  • Beginning January 10 th2008
  • Legal issues (San Diego County Bar Assoc)
      • Contracts, Prop/Title insurance, AdversePossession, Landlord/tenant
  • City Building Depts/HOA
  • Construction/Contracts/Loans

3. Deadline:Dec 10 thto file for reduced property taxes http://www.sdtreastax.com 4. Information: Your Best Policy SoCal 2007 Wildfire Recovery www.unitedpolicyholders.org 5. About UP

  • United Policyholders is a not-for-profit charity dedicated to educating you so you get a fair insurance claim settlement
  • Were funded by donations and grants
  • Our online information is all free of charge
  • UPs work gets done by volunteers whove recovered from prior disasters and knowledgeable, consumer-oriented professionals

6. Insurance is a vehicleto get you back home

  • Think of your insurance policy as a car to drive you where you need to go but remember:its not going to drive itself .
  • You paid for it.Youve got the most at stake in making sure it gets you where you need to go.
  • You need to drive it.

7. Dont confuse insurance companyads with reality

  • Dont 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. Insurance companies are in business

  • When its time for dollars to flow back from your insurer to you, loyalty doesnt matter -- what matters isdocumentation, 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. Good news to remember:

  • Youre not alone
  • Help is available (including UPs 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. 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 -- dont just take your adjusters word on how much coverage you have

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. 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 youre being treated unfairly, take action

13. Advice from other disaster survivors:

  • Your adjuster may be friendly, but always remember hes not your friend
  • K.R., home destroyed in 2003 Cedar Fire, rebuilt by summer 2005

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. Dont pad your claim

  • If you lose credibility with your adjuster/insurer, it will delay your settlement
  • Insurance fraud is a crime

16. State Agency Insurance Help

  • To locate missing policies or file a complaint about unfair treatment; contact theCalifornia Department of Insurance
  • 1(800) 927-HELP

17. Resist being rushed or pressured

  • Do not be pressured into a quick settlement
  • A catastrophic insurance claim can taketwo years or more to get fully and fairly settled

18. Be careful before signing

  • Dont 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 youve really lost, write inundetermined

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. Repair/Rebuilding tips

  • Insist on "like kind and quality" repairs (e.g. redwood vs. pine, custom vs. standard)
    • Details add up
  • Dont accept lowball estimates or sub-standard workmanship
  • Your repaired home should have a uniform appearance dont accept non-matching items
  • Check out repair professionals before hiring

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. 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 Boardwww.cslb.ca.gov
  • or call: 1-800-321-CSLB (2752)

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. Tips on replacing contents

  • If your adjuster seems to be unfairly depreciating items, remember its 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. Dont get snookered

  • Do not do any of the following without first checking with an attorney who has experience representing insurance consumers (policyholders):
    • Sign "releases" or waivers
    • Give a recorded statement

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 andspeaking 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 youd get on your own;

27. You paid for coverageandgood claim service.

  • The premiums you paid entitle you to coverage for lossesandgood 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 professio