Insurance, what’s it for?

September 3, 2010


A very good friend, I’ll refer to her as Jaqui, recently had her house damaged by a severe storm. This is the second time in five years that major damage to her property has been sustained. This morning, over coffee, she told me some of the details that I hadn’t been aware of.  I was flabbergasted, but then I had to remind myself that we’re talking insurance, here. Keep in mind that Jaqui is retired and lives, like the rest of us, on a more-or-less fixed income.

Three years ago, when our roof was pounded to pieces by a violent hail storm, our agent had an adjuster out right away and we had a substantial check covering our expenses  in our hands immediately. I thought this was the normal way of doing business. This morning I learned that Jaqui,  her roof similarly damaged during the same storm, received only 250 dollars in damages and had to have her roof extensively patched rather than replaced.  Even so, she was out-of-pocket a large sum of money as a result. In my judgment, this was not only a financial disaster, but an insult thrown at her by her insurer as well. After all, she’d been paying premiums for over 20 years.

As of right now, Jaqui has trees down, gutters down, a patio in tatters, and a large hole in her roof that is covered over with a temporary patch. Yesterday, when her adjuster finally arrived, he hardly glanced at her roof, refused at first even to use his ladder to climb up, and after a short conversation with the roofer who was on hand to offer expert advice, announced to Jaqui that there was nothing that they were going to do.

He told the roofer that if she didn’t get her roof replaced this time, they would pull her insurance policy. After all, when they paid her the 250 dollars last time they expected her to replace the roof. Maybe there were a few other words exchanged after this bombshell that I’m not reporting.

I simply don’t know what people are going to do in the face of these kinds of gorilla tactics. Maybe this adjuster is lucky that Jaqui has a lot of self control. I can imagine some women who manage ranches on their own who might have been somewhat more aggressive at this point in the confrontation.

I’d start a “Save Jaqui’s Roof Fund” except that she’s an independent lady and would never agree. I may start a “Homeowner’s Defense Fund” for cases where certain companies refuse to honor their commitments.

About charles frenzel

I've been writing all my life. I've also painted, composed, sculpted, contributed to molecular research, advanced some mathematical concepts, lived on a sailboat, and worked for a Nobel Prize winner. Nothing in my life has pleased me more than to share my life with my wife and friend of over forty years.

View all posts by charles frenzel

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