What does insurance insure? It insures you’re going to get hassled every time you file a claim. Probably the biggest government backed scam in the history of economics. The big “firms” have the least accountability. How many times have you heard, for example, of people “afraid” to file claims because their insurance might be cancelled. Huh? You pay a healthy premium each year for something you’re afraid to use? In what other industry does that fly?
We encountered this us/them nonsense many years ago in our optometric practice, which is why except for Medicare – with which we still participate – we threw all the other carriers out the door and advised patients we are re-establishing the relationship between us and them, not some capricious third party bean counters whose job it is to dole out as little money as possible for the maximum amount of service.
Insurance is supposedly at its best for catastrophic care. That is, until catastrophe actually hits. What I have in mind on this Mother’s Day, celebrating the steadfastness and reliability of mothers, is the film-flam of insurance carriers in the wake of SuperStormSandy. The shore is beginning to come back to life, though signs of devastation are still everywhere.
These three properties rim the inlet on the way to a now vacant restaurant, aptly named.
We are fortunate in that our condo Unit escaped with little damage, but the units below us have been decimated to the studs. We are therefore, by virtue of being part of the Association, embroiled in a mess with our insurance carrier. The process is that the insurance company uses an “Adjuster” to assess the damage. What you won’t realize until you actually need the money to rebuild is that the job of the Adjuster is to adjust your reimbursement as low as possible. I don’t know if Nationwide is on your side, but our carrier has been, shall we say, less than responsive. Hence a new type of signage promoting law firms that will fight to get you the money that insurance companies insure you’ll have to fight for.
So now we basically have three types of rebuilding underway:
1) Properties damaged minimally enough that owners can afford to rebuild despite insurance reimbursement lowballing or undercutting (low balls seems the appropriate terms for how carriers conduct business).
2) Properties devastated to the extent that owners prefer to bulldoze what’s left, walk away, and sell the lot.
3) If we had any recourse with the insurance industry, we’d raise the roof over the sanctioned scams. But instead we say, okay. No problem. You mean you’ve actually had to pay out on the billions of dollars in premiums homeowners in flood zones pay each year? What? You mean you can’t lavish as much money on your CEOs, CFOs, COOs, and shareholders as you’d like this year? No problem! Just raise our premiums through the roof. Thank goodness – FEMA to the rescue. Read all about the new regulations here. Instead of paying roughly $30,000 a year for flood insurance, you can get it reduced to a mere $7000 or so by elevating your house high enough, hence a whole new industry patterned after Ghostbusters, called Houselifters.
Here’s a house on Arnold Avenue in the process of being lifted.
Perhaps I’m being too harsh on insurance companies in general – there are some very fine people working ing he industry. But in the aftermath of this storm, there are some very important questions that still beg for answers. Take for example this issue of raising houses. How high is high enough? All this is starting to sound like a bad Jackie Mason routine.
How high do I have to raise my house to escape monstrous annual flood premiums at the Shore? I don’t know. Whaddaya mean you don’t know? What if I spend thousands of dollars raising my house, and you come out to inspect, and say I didn’t raise it high enough? Who’s responsible? You mean I’m responsible? Why is that?
I dunno. It’s not my job. I only work for the government and they said it’s not their business, it’s not really their job, it might be their job but they’re not sure.