Ma Nature’s Next Hissy Fit

Claims Magazine (06/10); Brownlee, Ken

Ken Brownlee discusses the plethora of natural disasters throughout the U.S. as well as the ins-and-outs of being prepared with the proper insurance. Central New England recently faced a bout of devastating floods, and Brownlee expects that most residents did not have flood insurance. As a result, the cash-strapped states will be forced to raise taxes and, because some areas have been declared federal disaster zones, the rest of the nation will have to pay up as well. Floods have long been on the list of natural disasters to have insurance for, but “every time there is a major flood, there are those who thought it would never happen to them, and who did not purchase flood insurance.” Brownlee next touches on man-made disasters, some of which are covered by insurance already and some of which pose challenges for insurance coverage. Product or pollution liability, airline crashes and bridge collapses are all purely man-made and are covered. Things like grassland and forest fires as well as mudslides, which can be a combination of man-made and natural disasters, are often not covered. Insureds and insurance adjusters must plan ahead with the knowledge that both of these perils — man-made and natural disasters — are not covered under the same form. Thus, homeowners must adjust their policies accordingly. Mother Nature, according to Brownlee, has an entire cookbook full of damage recipes: floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, mudslides, earthquakes, freezes, droughts, snow, rockslides, and the perils of active volcanoes. For Brownlee, this all serves to reaffirm the importance of having key claims personnel to work with insureds who have faced natural disasters.

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