Ground Zero: An Interview


By Matthew Vanderford, Claimology

Below is a conversation I had with an insured who decided to ride out the eye of Hurricane Michael…and lived to tell the tale.

How old are you? 58.

How long of you lived in Florida? 45 years.

What do you do for a living? Environmental Hygienist – test for mold, asbestos, things like that.

Have you ever been in a hurricane or natural disaster? Yes

If so which ones – describe those events. Hurricane Michael & tornados. I was fascinated by them. They make you feel unprepared.

What did you do to prepare? I have a Survival kit – long term survival kit.

Tell me about the days before – what was the feeling like? I thought it was a small storm, maybe a Category 1 or 2 that would hit the region. Nothing major. I wasn’t really focused on the storm, because I was working out of state helping other people document their insurance claim damages. We’re used to having storms pop and not make landfall.

You were in the Carolinas after Hurricane Florence working – what made you come home? My wife asked to have me home and be with the family. The storm started tracking like a direct hit where we lived.

Who was staying with you at the time? My wife, my son, his wife with two children under three years old and another family member.

When, if ever, did you think about Insurance and what would happen if you had damage? When the storm was strengthening – I went out and took a video as it was getting close. And it’s only because of industry experience and working with claims that I remembered to take action and document things before the storm got bad.

When did you file a claim? About two weeks later.

Tell me what you did to prepare for the claim after the event? I contacted people in the insurance industry to make sure I was documenting everything correctly – so I could make sure I got what I was owed.

Describe for me the area as a whole after the event? Almost every tree was horizontal – power lines were down….like a bomb went off. I’ve never seen anything like it – the broadness of the system was huge.

What did you do while you were waiting for the insurance carrier claim rep? I was helping neighbors, working, securing my property to minimize loss and repairs issues.

What happened to your house? Ended up being a total loss – complete shell.
Where are you living now? Panama City Beach.

Will you return home – back to the same house? Well, my wife’s thoughts — probably not. The neighborhood is so damaged. It’s changed completely.

Would you ever stay again? Yes – but my wife wouldn’t.

What would you have done differently in preparation in dealing with the insurance company? I would’ve taken better exterior photos.

What has your overall experience been like dealing with an insurance claim on your own, even with help? Frustration. The documents we sent kept getting “lost,” they reassigned our claim three or four times to different people and the insurance company was having issues addressing the facts of the loss.

How much did you receive monetarily at the beginning of the insurance claim? $54,000.

How much are you presently short monetarily from the claim in your estimation? Over $200,000.

Quick facts: As of this writing, only 25% of all insurance claims for Hurricane Michael have been made and settled and TIME IS RUNNING OUT to file a claim or present a supplement to the original damages. Hurricane Michael made landfall twice—on the 7th and 10th of October 2018 respectively and insureds only have THREE YEARS to make sure they get what they deserve or miss the window for recovery completely. If you or someone you know have been affected by hurricanes Michael, Sally or Zeta, don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact us at Claimology to learn more about how you can protect your biggest assets, your homes and businesses and receive the correct amount of funds due under your insurance policy.

“This is a solicitation for business. If you have had a claim for an insured property loss or damage and you are satisfied with the payment by your insurer, you may disregard this advertisement.”


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