After a storm like Sandy, it's easy to think about our insurance needs and re-evaluate our policies. So, Guilford Patch reached out to George Page, Jr. of Page Insurance, to discuss some of the ins and outs of the insurance world.
Page reminds us that our insurance is something to be cognizant of more consistently throughout the year and elaborates on the challenges we face in deciphering our sometimes complicated policies.
As with Bishop's Orchards, Page's Hardware, and several Guilford businesses, Page Insurance was yet another local business that really came through for the community before, during and after Sandy's strike. Page discusses how this local business successfully negotiated the high demands of this recent superstorm.
Q: I am curious as to whether you got lots of calls before or after storm?
Yes, we received a fair number of calls during and after the storm...not too many before the storm. In fact, just as with Irene last year, we were taking calls and submitting claims the day of/day after the storms(s), despite being out of power, and having no regular Internet connection. While other agencies and companies were closed, we were open for business. Our contingency plan involves some pretty awesome technology that allows us to connect with our clients even if we are not in the office. So we can seamlessly move from our office to a remote location. In the case of Storm Sandy and Hurricane Irene, I was hunkered down at at my home, gathering information and submitting claims to the companies. It worked really well!
Q: What have you seen in terms of people's understanding of their insurance needs?
We encourage and invite all our clients to review their insurance with us at least once a year, so they can ask questions, and understand their coverage a little better. It's a small investment in time, so they don't have to worry as much when a big storm like Sandy hits. Storms like this still prompt people to look at their insurance coverage....and we're always here to answer questions. Our feeling is whether you spend $500 or $5,000 you should have the same opportunity to know what you're buying, to be an informed policyholder. After all, it's a legal contract and definitely more involved that buying anything else.
In my experience, insurance policies are inherently hard to understand, and part of our job is to translate the legal contract into something more approachable, to the extent that's possible. We can't determine whether a particular claim will be covered or not. That's the job of a licensed claims adjuster.
That being said, people still don't fully understand their coverage until there is a storm and they have a loss...then they start looking at their policies (and calling their agent) to determine the type of coverage they have and if it will be adequate. They know they need coverage for their house and belongings, as well as liability protection. The other coverages, the extra features of a homeowners policy, like refrigerated foods coverage, tree removal, debris removal, loss of use...are not clearly understood until someone submits a claim. These coverages vary by company, and by claim...so tree removal that is covered under one policy may not be covered under another. Similarly, tree removal that may be covered for one claim, may not be covered for another based on the circumstances.
Also, people don't generally think about flood insurance unless the bank requires it. The fact is that everyone lives in a flood zone and could be subject to a flood loss, and flood insurance policies can cost as little as $200 per year. With both recent storms there was significant property damage due to flooding, which a standard homeowners policy typically does not cover. It's important to consider flood insurance.
Q: Are there any programs in place or particular information you are providing for folks seeking insurance for property damages after Sandy?
For our clients, we track each and every claim, and guide them through the claims process (which can be confusing, at times) to make sure claims are settled in a fair, thorough and expeditious way. From the moment a client calls with a claim, that claim is treated individually, we stay in the loop and keep our clients in the loop, as well. This is the service that we've provided for almost 70 years and a large part of our success.
We also advise them to contact FEMA, and inquire about making a claim for anything that is not covered by their primary insurance. There are a few websites that are very helpful, like www.ready.gov or the website that the State of CT put together recently.
Page Insurance is on Guilford Patch's list of "42 Small Business Facebook Pages Guilford Residents Should 'Like,'" so be sure to like them on Facebook!!