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A TRAGEDY

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A TRAGEDY Powered By Docstoc
					A TRAGEDY
NO ONE CAN IMAGINE
THE FEELING OF COMPLETE

         Loss
     Helplessness
        Despair
The last thing you need now is


 UNFULFILLED PROMISES
       from your
  INSURANCE COMPANY
YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS AT
POLICYHOLDERS OF AMERICA WANT
         YOU TO KNOW




  WE’RE HERE TO
         HELP
        WHY?

Because only someone who
has walked in YOUR shoes
knows what you are going
through.
THERE ARE PITFALLS TO
AVOID WHEN FILING A
MAJOR CLAIM………
    KNOW YOUR COVERAGE

   Read and understand your policy. Get copy from agent.

   Coverage A:      The Dwelling (usually REPLACEMENT
                     Cost)
    Coverage B:      Other Structures (fences, walls, driveway,
                     swimming pools, unattached garage, etc)
    Coverage C:      Personal Property (clothes, furniture, etc)
    Other coverages: Additional living expenses or “ALE”, debris
                     removal, code upgrades, landscaping

   List EVERYTHING that was destroyed.

   Additional Living Expenses (or “ALE”) - Get advance or
    direct pay to hotel, etc.
      KNOW YOUR DUTIES


 Report your claim immediately.
 List your losses (damaged or destroyed property).
 Protect your property from further damage if it’s not
  a total loss.
 Cooperate with adjuster (scheduling, presenting
  property, providing information, etc).
 Document Additional Living Expenses (ongoing).
      KNOW THEIR DUTIES
   Respond promptly to claim.
   Investigate objectively.
   Inform you of all coverage, time limits and potential
    exclusions from coverage.
   Affirm or deny your claim in writing.
   Provide ALE advance or direct pay to hotel, etc.
   Prepare detailed Scope of Loss (list of damages and repair or
    replacement estimates).
   Assist in presentation of claim.
   Provide needed forms.
   Pay documented benefits (or undisputed amounts they
    KNOW they owe) promptly.
   Act in GOOD FAITH.
    COMMON TOOLS USED TO REDUCE
    AMOUNTS PAID TO POLICYHOLDERS
 Lowball repair or replacement estimates by adjusters or
    insurance company contractors.
   Substandard ALE arrangements that do not reflect your
    normal standard of living.
   Demands for excessively detailed lists of contents –
    receipts, etc.
   Requests for unnecessary Examination Under Oath
    (EUO).
   Applying depreciation and hold-back.
   Delaying the claims payment while you rack-up
    expenses putting you in a very vulnerable position.
 EXAMINATION UNDER OATH
 Provided for in the policy but it’s a sign your claim is
    taking a nose-dive.
   Usually requested only when insured fails or refuses to
    cooperate or provide documents OR when there is a
    large difference between your bids and their bids.
   They CANNOT badger or try to intimidate you and they
    must ask “relevant and reasonable necessary”
    questions.
   An EUO may be used to delay the final resolution of a
    claim.
   You are allowed to have your attorney present.
     WILL YOU BE SUBJECT TO
     UNDER- or OVER- INSURED
           PENALTIES?
 Some policies are limited to stated policy limits.

 Some policies will pay full replacement cost without regard to
  stated limits.

 Some policies will pay up to a certain percent over stated limits
  if certain conditions are met.

 Some pay full replacement costs if insured trusted
  the agent/company to establish value/stated limits.
               DEPRECIATION

 Usually applies to contents only.


 Absent policy language, CA uses “market value” rule.


 Policy language governs what happens which is why you
  should carefully read your policy.

 No real set standards for depreciation.
    LOWBALLING REPLACEMENT
             COSTS

   Adjuster’s estimates will probably differ greatly from your
    contractor’s estimates. Why? If they can get away with
    paying less, that’s what they will try.

   Adjuster’s Scope of Loss may be inadequate.

   Insured should review and agree on Scope of Loss before
    estimates are prepared.

   If water was used to douse the fire, and the property was only
    damaged (not a complete loss), be certain that mold is not
    present as a costly clean up may be required.
     NOT PROVIDING FULL
 ADDITIONAL LIVING EXPENSES
 Company should offer an advance.
 Should set up direct pay with hotel, etc.
 Should reimburse promptly when incurred.
 The insurance company is entitled to deduct normal expenses.
 SHOULD PROVIDE SIMILAR STANDARD OF LIVING.




Your house:                                   The house they put you in:
    OTHER THINGS TO EXPECT

   Insurers will attempt, perhaps with some success,
    to dramatically raise all homeowners’ rates in
    California and they will blame the victims for such
    increases. This pits neighbor against neighbor and
    the industry’s position is not rational because
    wildfires are something insurers plan for in their rate
    making process. In other words, insurers will use the
    wildfires as an EXCUSE to raise rates throughout
    California, which may cause non-victims to blame
    victims for rate increases.

   Public adjusters will be swarming victims.
  CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE HIRING A
         PUBLIC ADJUSTER
 A public adjuster can help document the inventory of a home,
  construction costs and interface with the adjuster. Only YOU
  can decide if it’s worth paying a public adjuster 10 – 15% of
  what is rightfully YOURS.

 Public adjusters operate in a rather unregulated area.


 A public adjuster is NOT an attorney and may even ruin your
  claim because of what they do or don’t do. A public adjuster is
  YOUR agent so you are bound by what they do.

 Our rule of thumb: if you can afford to do without a public
  adjuster, you can’t afford a public adjuster.
THE PUBLIC ADJUSTER GAME
WATCH OUT FOR THESE COMMON
MISTAKES:
 Do not sign a contract that forces you to pay anything
  unless money is actually collected.
 If the public adjuster cannot get your claim settled within a
  specific period of time, make certain his/her contract can
  be terminated and the public adjuster does not have a lien
  on your claim. If an adjuster has a lien on your claim,
  many reputable attorneys will not take your case.
 Do not hire a public adjuster if there is any way your
  insurer will honor their policy as the adjuster will take 10 –
  15% of YOUR money.
               Other Resources
 www.policyholdersofamerica.org

 http://www.insurance.ca.gov/docs/FS-AAL.htm

 http://www.insurance.ca.gov/docs/FS-AAL.htm

 http://www.r6.gsa.gov/fss/fsstt/archives/dtos/dsec12.htm

 http://www.insurance.ca.gov/CSD/Brochure/Residential/ResidPropClai
   m.htm

 http://www.insurance.ca.gov/CSD/Brochure/Residential/DontGetBurn.
   htm

 http://www.insurance.ca.gov/LGL/Fairregs.htm
We will be hosting two FREE seminars in
                California
                  SAN DIEGO SEMINAR
When: Saturday, November 15, 2003
Time:  9:00 am – 12:00 noon
Where: Scottish Rite Center at 1895 Camino del Rio South,
              Mission Valley

                   ONTARIO SEMINAR

When:    Saturday, November 15, 2003
Time:    2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Where:   Doubletree Hotel, Big Bear Room, 222 North Vineyard
         Ave, Ontario

           RSVP required: 888-648-8823
       THANK YOU.




POLICYHOLDERS OF AMERICA
    Empowering the Policyholder

				
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