Ok, folks, no pics just facts. It’s not quite 7 a.m. and I just finished putting my lower kitchen cabinets back into order at my home down the bayou. Yes, I am trying to make my home livable until we decide what we will do here. That’s another story for another day.
There are so many new lessons to be learned for me in all this disaster stuff. I have never made an insurance claim after a hurricane before–mainly because with $1000 deductibles, there was never enough wind damage to do so, and I did not have flood insurance for Rita.
But this time, I had a wind claim after Gustav and flood claim after Ike at Camp Dularge, and a flood claim after Ike at my home further down the bayou.
And you know how I love serendipitous stories? How about two really quick?
When LilSis aka Heather Here was down a few weeks ago, we visited the main library in town. Our bayou library is closed for renovations, so my librarians are working temporarily at main. It was the first time I had seen my librarian, Mrs. M. since the storms, and I knew her home had flooded–again.
She told me a story of how she went over the Proof of Loss the insurance adjuster mailed to her. In doing so, she found several errors–one of which was the fact that he measured the square footage of her house short by 400 feet. Sparing you all the details–bottom line was that she found $17,000 worth of errors. After bringing these mistakes to his attention, the adjuster said, “Well, I sure hope the other people down the bayou aren’t as nit-picky as you are.”
Mrs. M. whirled around, slammed her folder down on his desk and said, “Sir, I don’t know how much money you make, but I can assure you that if at the end of the year you found you had been shorted $17,000, you’d be nit-picky too.”
Go gettum, Mrs. M!
My eighth grade math teacher taught me this saying, “A word to the wise should be sufficient”. And I’ve never forgotten it. I went straight home and went over my Proof of Loss for Camp Dularge line by line. And sure enough, I found mistakes. I emailed those corrections to my adjuster, and he promptly responded that he would correct them and resubmit to Farm Bureau and “hopefully they will accept the changes”.
That was two weeks ago, and I am still waiting to hear from them.
Most of the country has forgotten about the hurricane season of 2008 (which doesn’t end until the end of this month folks), but for those of us affected, we are still dealing with adjusters and waiting for money to repair.
SIDEBAR: State Farm has paid me face value of the flood policy for flood damages at my home down the bayou, because the losses were way more than we were insured for.
On to serendipity story number two. Thursday we went to buy a new washer and dryer. The Captain removed old washer and dryer and scrubbed utility room floor in preparation, as we have a mountain of laundry anxiously awaiting the arrival of new appliances. (For some reason, my hamper of dirty clothes was riding around in the backseat of my truck.)
Just before leaving for my hair cut appointment early Friday morning, the Lowe’s delivery many called and said the only washer in stock was damaged and didn’t know when they could get another one.
After my hair appointment, I was committed to helping my oldest son tow his broken down car to the repair shop, but when I called him at 9:30, he was just waking up and would be at least half an hour before arriving in town. So, remembering the hamper of dirty clothes in my truck and knowing I had no clean jeans and no washer at home, I decided to go to the laundromat.
The first thing I noticed as I drove up was a man in his early forties, sitting on a bench out front reading a hard cover book. He looked like a white collar type and I wondered why he was here doing laundry on a Friday morning.
The “mat” was very busy, so I only found one washer available that would hold my load of laundry. The washer finished about 30 minutes later, and as I was taking the clean clothes out my cell phone rang. It was a man from FEMA calling from the Parish Permit Office wanting to discuss my application for an Elevation Permit for Camp Dularge. (For those of you who don’t know, Camp Dularge has been on the waiting list to be elevated since before Ike, with an anticipated date of Dec. 15th.)
The dryers are stacked one atop the other nowadays, and I absent mindedly chose one on the bottom while trying to focus on this slightly frustrating call from “Jim of FEMA”. I slid three quarters into the slot and pressed the button for “colored clothing” and nothing happened. The dryer sat still.
It was only seconds before I realized I had pushed the buttons for the top dryer, giving that person another 18 minutes. When I informed the attendant, she promptly went and informed the person who was using that dryer. And who do you think it was?
Mr. White Collar. With a big smile he thanked me for the extra drying time! Without forethought, I responded, “I’m sorry. I was distracted by a frustrating phone call from FEMA.”
And that started the conversation, as he comfortably folded his black jockey shorts, about the flooding of Camp Dularge and my home down the bayou. Turns out, he’s a contractor who works for a local attorney that offers a service to help people deal with insurance companies that are cheating people out of claim money.
Hmmmmm. Mrs. M. and I were calling them “errors” and “mistakes” and “oversights”.
Could we all be so naive? We think that adjusters are working for us, the insured; when in reality, they just might be looking out for the insuror. Disclaimer: This is not to say that all adjusters are unfair or that they cheat people.
As we talked on, he educated me that the common person knows nothing about rates of depreciation and all the fine print on these claims. I’m sure there is more to it than that, but I believe there is something to what he is saying.
To me, it’s a shame that attorneys must be consulted when premiums have been paid—ON TIME—in order for folks to receive the proper compensation for their losses based on the face value of the coverage. Just a crying shame.
Bottom line is I am going to see Mr. White Collar this week to let him have a look-see for free. This is not something I would have sought out for myself. But the truth is, so many factors fell into place in order for this meeting to happen, that I know it was not accidental.
I’m not sure he will find anything amiss, but for some reason, I have to go through the motions. Maybe the knowledge can help someone else?
I’ll let you know what he finds.
I always look for the good in people, and I trust establishments like insurance companies. I don’t like thinking that I have to hire an attorney to get what I paid for in good faith.
So, sound back to me and tell me how you would feel if you were in our shoes.
Covered but not really covered,