Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Can't look away

In addition to my daily check on the tropical storm situation in the Atlantic, I'm now checking in on the wildfire situation in California.

Professional interest has me keeping an eye out for developing hurricanes (none predicted at this time, thank goodness) due to the nature of my job. When Texas gets hit by a hurricane, my employer goes into 'crazy' mode trying to assess claims and check on policyholders. Fortunately, Erin petered out and Humberto really didn't do much damage. We've still got a ways to go until the end of hurricane season, though.

Personal and professional interest has me voraciously reading news reports of the California fires. Hopefully, policyholders have appropriate limits on their homeowner policies. Between the damage caused in 2003 and the resulting increase in the cost of building supplies, I really hope insurers are on the ball and have raised limits appropriately. It would be terrible to lose everything in a fire only to discover that you are under-insured and can only rebuild half your house...

I did read one commentary that rubbed me entirely the wrong way. Well, one sentence: 'And while insurance companies appear financially well-positioned to cover losses, they’re increasingly pressing homeowners to reduce fire risk and increase coverage.' Ummm, in order for an insurance company to be financially well-positioned to cover massive losses, the policies they sell MUST have adequate limits. Encouraging (read: offer premium discounts or surcharges based on meeting certain underwriting guidelines) policyholders to reduce fire risk is a win-win situation for both the homeowner and the insurance company. In order for a policyholder to have a valid financial cushion, coverage must be adequate.

One of the things I love about working for an insurance company is that I feel we make a difference. Yes, everybody hates their insurance co. Shoot, there are times I dislike my own. I pay a lot of money for a product I hope to GOODNESS I never have to use. When I do have to file a claim, there is definitely stress present. However, without that financial cushion, many, many, many people would experience financial difficulty and/or ruin.

On the personal side of things, the devastation felt by so many people who have lost their homes or are in danger of losing their homes is horrifying. My heart aches for so many who have lost so much. The loss of life is even worse...

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