Tahoe Fire Losses Could Reach $150 Million, Victims May Be Underinsured

July 2, 2007

  • July 2, 2007 at 1:08 am
    Compman says:
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    I am just shocked. After being in the insurance biz in CA for 17 years now, I can’t believe anybody would be underinsured. Ok, sarcasm turned off now.

    You can put all the notices, advisories, charts, graphs, etc on a homeowner’s policy but the people buying these don’t care about coverage, they only care about costs. That is why insurance whores like Farmers and State FArm and Allstate have such a large market share. They don’t care if they sell an inadequate policy to someone. I go thru this on a weekly basis. Trying to tell someone who has a Farmers policy in San Francisco at $78 sq ft that he is going to have to pay at least triple what he is paying becuase he is so underinsured, they just run away and stick their heads back in the sand.

    No matter how hard we try, and after all the TV and news about underinsurance, it still comes down to cost. I have turned many clients away as I will not underinsure them. I direct them to the Farmers agent across the street if they want cheap insurance that won’t protect them.

  • July 2, 2007 at 1:08 am
    BooHoo says:
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    They’ve had 4 years to review their insurance policies and make sure they had the proper coverage…. And why is this someone elses fault? Certainly they are people of “average intellegence” and understand that if in 2003 there was most likely a TON of public awareness addresses that arose out of the last incident – These people live in the middle of the woods – surrounded by trees – many of whom can certainly afford to purchase adequate limits – and the state is already whining… Give me a break

  • July 2, 2007 at 1:12 am
    BooHoo says:
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    EXACTLY!!!! When are people going to be forced to be personally responsible for their actions – or INACTIONS – You only get what you pay for – and if that means you get a fraction of what your house is worth – then its your own fault – It isn’t like these people couldnt go out and get a couple of quotes – or ask what the endorsemetns mean if they don’t understand them… Bleeding Hearts

  • July 2, 2007 at 1:18 am
    Been There says:
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    I could not agree more.
    The ones that are screaming the loudest are probably the same ones who thought their agent was trying to scam them when he recomended higher limits for $50 to $100 more.

  • July 2, 2007 at 1:48 am
    Cheif Executive Thug says:
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    Well put, Compman. It sounds like most people in the business of insurance agree that insureds can be idiots and price shop not caring about coverage limits. Although I don’t own property myself, I at least bought a renters policy a while back and it’s already been used. I had a bike ripped off. Imagine if personal lines policies had coinsurance clauses??? People would riot!!!

  • July 2, 2007 at 1:59 am
    concerned agent says:
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    when a united state senator refuses to get flood insurance and is wiped out by Katrina all he did was turn to his brother-in-law lawyer, ‘dickie scruggs’ who sued everyone in sight until the insurance companies caved. these tahoe people are rich and can do the same thing. if you are underinsured and suffer a loss-hire a high profile attorney and sue. the only people who really lose are the people who cannot afford to hire a high priced lawyer. what-me worry?

  • July 2, 2007 at 2:04 am
    Mark says:
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    What are you talking about “insurance whores”? I’m a State Farm agent, and we insure for replacement cost using the same programs as you independent agents use. I’ve seen plenty of crap from independent agents over the years, but I don’t paint all of you with the same brush.
    Could it be that this is once again a situation where the agent and the consumer share some of the blame? How many clients are offered to review their policies, but refuse to do so? It should not be a surprise to anyone in CA that bldg costs have gone way up over the past decade. Now that they’ve been hit with this catastrophe, it will be the insurance industry that gets slammed by the government and the media.

  • July 2, 2007 at 2:34 am
    Claims Guy says:
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    No one should have any sympathy for the penny pinching rich folks in Tahoe who were too stupid and short-sighted to make sure they had sufficient coverage. If they want to blame anyone they should first look in the mirror, and second at their agent. The agent gets paid to explain the product and recommend appropriate limits. Look what happened after Katrina. The agents went on record as saying they weren’t responsible. Nice try agents, but you have an ethical and professional obligation and duty to make sure people know what their exposures are.
    People fail to accept personal responsibility because no one hold them accountable. We’ve done a great job of enabling irresponsibility and stupidity in this country. Thanks also to the plaintiff lawyers who promulgate this behavior.

  • July 2, 2007 at 3:16 am
    SLOBOB says:
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    #1: Nearly all of the folks that lost homes in the Angora fire were not “Tahoe Rich,” but rather, retirees, vacation home owners and local residents.
    #2: As a retiree (45 years in the “biz”)agency, GA & company owner/exec. I take exception to much of the diatribe concerning underinsurance. While it is incumbent on both the agent and the insured to fully understand the facts and subtleties inherent in the insurance process, it is equally incumbent upon the insurers to offer adequate cover which reflects regional peculiarities. As a property owner in the Lake Tahoe basin, I have personally had to negotiate and ultimately demand adequate RC cover from a variety of company underwriting personnel over the years (State Farm, GEICO, Allied, Travelers, Hartford, AIG to name a few). “Normal” RC for “average” construction in the Tahoe Basin approaches $350/sq.ft. It is nearly impossible to get a carrier to “insure to value.” This situation is not unique to Tahoe. The fear of overinsuring and creating a moral/ morale hazard is a real deterrent in the “insurance to value” problem. The “blame” for underinsurance should be shared equally: Insured, Agent/Broker, Insurance Departments and the carriers.

  • July 2, 2007 at 4:38 am
    Retro Man says:
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    I can see it now, State Farm, Allstate et al withdrawing from insuring homes in wooded areas, like they have from the coasts. States setting up “Firestorm” associations and State insurers of last resort to avoid an availibility crisis. Coastal residents of the states refusing to subsidize the artificially low premiums of the “woodies”, saying if they choose to live among the forests they should not be subsidized with higher premiums in coastal areas. Dickie Scruggs arguing whatever position that is opposite common sense and contract law….

    Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?

  • July 2, 2007 at 5:56 am
    concerned agent says:
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    i think you make a very valid point. how does one get an insurance company to insure to value when the cost of rebuilding in different areas vary so much. the cost per square foot is so much more in san francisco than it is in fresno that there is no comparison yet the one policy fits all. there does not seem to be a answer. i guess we just have to make sure our e&o is up to date.

  • July 2, 2007 at 6:38 am
    Compman says:
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    Concerned agent, did you leave your pair in a drawer? How come you can’t insure to value? I don’t have any problems submitting business with values above the company’s rebuilding cost guidelines. All the underwriters I talk to know the calculations for California are way too low and will gladly insure for whatever I ask them too. They just ask for something for the file, so I just use the MS/B and increase the factors to get where it should be. It isn’t that hard. Don’t let the companies bully you around. Most of the underwriters these days are not even college educated and have only been in the biz less than 5 years.

  • July 4, 2007 at 1:53 am
    could not agree more. says:
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    sO TELL PEOPLE YOU WILL NOT SELL THEM A pOLICY IN GOOD FAITH,BACKWAY IF PEOPLE WILL NOT HEAR YOU . iF YOU WORK FOR sTATE fARM LET PEOPLE KNOW YOU WILL NOT- PAY OUT ……. AND IF YOU DO PAY OUT ITS CALLED LOWBALLING BE SURE AND TELL PEOPLE THE TRUTH.

  • July 3, 2007 at 2:54 am
    DoItRightTheFirstTime says:
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    Although your own statement seems to disagree with itself by saying “don’t listen to the rich” then “agents have this responsibility” thing I rather agree with you.

    However, you can bet dollars to doughnuts that the majority have had recent appraisals and heavy mortgages so they know they’re underinsured to start with.

    Also, what company worth their soap doesn’t have location multipliers to adequately insure you no matter where you live?

  • July 4, 2007 at 5:24 am
    Einstein says:
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    The bottom line is that many carriers rates can not adequately insure to value because their rates are tooooo high. Farmers, Statefarm, and Allstate agents have no choice, grossly underinsure or charge a premium that is soooo high that their PIF will look like an avalanche. The DOI with a little bit knowledge/experience would recognize this as underinsuring, rather than allegations of overcharging. Company reps at Farmers Insurance have pretended this problem did not exist, and have told their agents that it is their fault. I also heard that past CEO of Farmers Insurance canceled his home policy shortly after resigning. HMMMMMMMMM



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