Commentary: Houseless After Sandy, Until the Insurance Money Kicks In

By Cynthia Ramnarace | December 5, 2012

  • December 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm
    San Antonio Rose says:
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    Wow, talk about unrealistic expectations. Back in her home by Christmas? My aunt & uncle had a home on Galveston island, protected by the sea wall, that got water damage from Hurricane Ike. It was 13 months before they could move back into their home. As an industry, we need to educate consumers on the difference between your home being the only one affected and what happens when hundreds of thousands are affected.

    • December 5, 2012 at 3:03 pm
      Anita says:
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      Agree, this massive devastation can’t be cleaned up and repairs started for many mnay months.

    • December 6, 2012 at 8:54 am
      Lone Star Girl says:
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      I agree, San Antonio Rose. Because Sandy hit the East Coast and affected mighty New York, they are showing their arrogance in expecting us all to feel sorry for their plight and help them out. While Sandy was devastating, it was just a tropical storm. Those of us down here in the Gulf Coast region live through these things often. They are whining about being out of their homes for so long (a few weeks so far). Talk to the victims of Katrina and Ike, then you may find out you have very little to whine about.

  • December 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm
    Stuart says:
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    I certainly can understand fully the item from Cynthia at Reuters…
    I am in the same boat… I am less fortunate because I did not carry
    Flood insurance (and I am an insurance agent).
    I just want to correct one item…there is reference to gov. Cuomo mandating
    Insurance carriers to act more swiftly in seeing the people with claims and
    getting settlements more quickly. The problem however, with flood insurance,is
    that Gov. Cuomo has NO say in this. This is a Federal program! His mandate has
    NO effect on Federal Flood insuance

    • December 31, 2012 at 3:39 pm
      MrInsBrokerSF says:
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      I have nothing but sympathy and prayers to offer all of those who suffer from Sandy and every other catastrophe. What I’d like for Christmas is for adults to grow up, and act responsibly. Unfortunately, most of the places urban masses choose to live are in very physically vulnerable locations. Even if homes are built to withstand hurricanes, damage is still likely.

      Politicians refuse to take responsibility for making the types of building code changes retro active that would minimize the damage
      and distruction. Then rather than acting like part of a team with
      federal support, insurers, and contractors, they take cheap shots
      at insurers who are too weak to hit back at the bully.

      No politician has the right or power to dictate to any insurer what
      their policy needs to pay, other than fair settlement under it’s terms! If the federal government can track every phone and email message, then maybe people should expect “Big Brother” to know who’s house got damaged beyond habitability, and direct deposit a FEMA emergency check into their bank account?

      Depending on how much time it take a field adjuster to inspect and review a case, I imagine it could take 10,000 adjusters a month to
      handle 33 cases each? I really don’t know. People doing that work are probably still too busy to bother commenting in a forum like this, but I wish they would.

      Everyone should understand the difference between private insurance
      and government insurance, but no one teaches that in high school. Politicians take credit for setting up programs meant to help prople even when those programs are a major failure such as National Flood Ins. Program. And agencies like FEMA, are typical of the waste and ineffectiveness most people expect from government. The difference Cynthia Ramnarace misses in her article is that when government lets you down, you have no recourse – you just continue to suffer. When a private insurer lets you down, you have rights by contract, you can take your business to another insurer, you can tell everyone your story.

      Having read stories about some private insurers using their adjusters to investigate both Homeowners and Flood claims on the same property, and knowing they have a profit motive to shift payments away from the Homeowners policy to the Flood policy, that argues strongly for separate adjusters, however, maybe if there were better standards for determining the cause of loss, that may
      not be such a big issue. Does anyone think there’s an army of adjusters sitting around who have nothing to do but jump on a plane to come our rescue?

      The one resource we hear nothing about is our formidable military:
      so much of which is otherwise occupied. Those are the brave young
      people who would gladly risk life and limb to rescue, and assist on a very large scale (they likely have, and just don’t get much credit), then there’s the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers who like to do things their own way (not necessarily looking for the best, or most sensitive environment way).

      My bottom line is that insurance is not all the same, either in coverage, price, or outcomes. Everyone should demand that those of us working in insurance do our jobs well, and fairly. Experience teaches that many things may act to increase the cost of claims, and fraud is only one of them.

      It seems like we haven’t yet learned the moral of the old fairy tale about the three little pigs and the big bad wolf.

  • December 5, 2012 at 3:27 pm
    CSP says:
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    My Goodness. She didn’t buy insurance from the company with the majic elves, that majically appear when there is a claim with a contractor in tow, and have everything demolished and rebuilt in 24 hours.

  • December 5, 2012 at 3:41 pm
    Insurance Sam says:
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    I don’t think she had unrealistic expectations to think an adjuster should be there quicker than 30 days +. But what to you expect from a governmental entity like FEMA?
    And she “done good” by taking the intitiative and getting a contractor working on her problem. It’s encouraging to see somebody that got “Sandied” to take the bull by the horns and get things going without wringing her hands and waiting for Big Brother to come along and bail them out.

    • December 6, 2012 at 9:11 am
      youngin' says:
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      I’m with Sam. Those darn FEMA flood insurance adjusters! If flood claims were handled by servicing carriers instead I’m sure the response would be much faster.


  • December 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm
    CB says:
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    I can certainly understand why Cynthia is getting a bit peeved with the slow adjuster response, however, it sounds like this is more of an issue with the federal government’s management (or lack thereof) of the NFIP.
    She’s doing great by taking initiative to protect her own property, and I certainly pray that she gets a fair settlement from the NFIP.

    • December 9, 2012 at 11:40 pm
      Mark says:
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      Flood insurance adjusters are NOT government employees. They work for private companies, and there are limit supply of them. 30 days is pretty good for the amount of damage there was.

  • December 23, 2012 at 9:51 am
    Helene says:
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    We are in the same boat except we have rented an apartment where they have gouged us to the point of ridiculousness. Where are the insurance checks? They always want their premiums on time yet they can’t pay you in a timely fashion. They say you have $250,000 so where is it we could use every dime of it to replaced years of savings and hard work. Is there any recourse to this horrible experience? We are being penalized by using our 401k for not putting the money back in a timely fashion. 60 days why not a year so we can at least recoup our loss? We will be out for 6 months until all is sorted out. The FEMA is a joke they have given people who have no insurance payments and we who have insurance are be screwed.

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