Monday, September 27, 2010

Sept. 28: Ask a Stupid Question Day

By Amy Danise,
Last updated Sept. 27, 2010

Flipping through my “funny holidays” calendar, I discovered that Sept. 28 is “Ask a Stupid Question Day.” Why is there only one day for that?! We love receiving questions from readers every day – and we don’t consider any of them stupid. As Bob Passmore of the Property Casualty Insurers Association puts it, “I was always taught that the only stupid question was the one you didn't ask.” There’s no doubt this holds true for insurance – and what better way to learn a little something than by asking a “stupid” question.

So we asked a variety of experts in the insurance industry: “What’s the most stupid question you’ve ever heard about insurance?”

Is this covered?

“If you aren't sure if you have the coverage you want, ask your agent before you have a loss -- don't assume that something is covered,” advises Passmore. Why pay for insurance you don’t use because you don’t understand it?

Should I file a claim that’s only a little more than my deductible?

Let’s say you have damage to your house that will cost about $3,000 to repair, and your home insurance deductible is $2,500. Should you file a claim?

“I then ask why they would want to make a claim for $500 – or less,” says Ron Reitz, president of Quality Claims Management in San Diego, which provides public insurance adjuster services to consumers. Filing claims eventually leads to insurance rate increases. “I do not recommend filing small claims,” says Reitz. “I think insurance should be for the larger claims.”

This reveals an insurance truth that’s hard to swallow: You should pay for insurance and avoid actually using it – except in cases of major damage. Filing a claim that nets you $500 after your deductible is not worth potentially paying hundreds more in premiums over subsequent years after you’re pegged as a “risky” customer.

Will insurance pay for my illegal activities?

Amy Bach of United Policyholders, a nonprofit consumer-rights organization, recalls people asking whether they can make insurance claims for damage to illegal items, or whether they can make insurance claims for lost income that they never reported on their tax returns.

The answer: Maybe! Insurance sometimes pays for damage due to illegal acts.

Isn’t a vicious dog a great way to keep burglars from entering your home?

“No, having a vicious dog can injure innocent people. It can also lead to a lawsuit,” points out Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute. “The best deterrent is to have a burglar alarm system installed in your home.”

Here’s another indication that a vicious dog isn’t a good idea: Your home insurance rates could go through the roof, or your insurer could refuse to cover you, period. It doesn’t want the risk of an expensive dog-bite claim.

Why do I need life insurance?

“Lots of people have fuzzy ideas that they should get coverage but, because life insurance involves mortality, fail to address the issue properly. Indeed, who really wants to think much of their own mortality?” says Jack Dolan of the American Council of Life Insurers.

But asking “Why do I need life insurance” is often the same question as, “Does my family really need my income?”

“When they understand why it's needed and how inexpensive it can be, they're easily convinced,” says Dolan.

What’s your stupid question?

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Great California Shake Out

By Kim Cary, Senior General Adjuster
September 20, 2010

We have experienced a lot of ground rumbling lately. We have also witnessed the devastation of tsunamis in unprepared coastal regions around the world. The Earthquake Country Alliance fosters a culture of earthquake and tsunami preparedness for individuals and businesses in California. The Alliance, led by the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA), brings together state and local organizations, schools, media, businesses and individuals in effort to encourage the public to prepare for these potential major disasters. Check the website for videos, animation, handbooks and other helpful information on earthquake planning and safety at

The Great California Shake Out, a statewide earthquake drill, is scheduled for October 21st at 10:21 am. Everyone is encouraged to Register at and participate. So far 5.5 million people have already registered. The website also contains invaluable information for earthquake preparation and safety.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Quality Claims at the 2010 Fall Home and Garden EXPO

By Seth Knudsen, Claims Adjuster
September 13, 2010

Quality Claims Management Corp (QCMC) took part in the San Diego Home and Garden EXPO this last weekend at The Del Mar Fairgrounds in an effort to educate San Diegans on their roles as Public Insurance Adjusters.

Public Adjusters are licensed professionals employed exclusively by a policyholder who has sustained an insured loss. They handle every detail of the claim, working closely with the insured to provide the most equitable and prompt settlement possible. A Public Adjuster inspects the loss site immediately, analyzes the damages, assembles claim support data, reviews the insured's coverage, determines current replacement costs and exclusively serves the client, not the insurance company (definition provided by National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, NAPIA).

As EXPO attendees stopped by the booth they found that there was an alternative to themselves or an attorney handling an insurance claim. Comments included “I never knew I had that option” or “it is good to know that there is someone out there that truly represents the claimant not the insurance company”.

QCMC looks forward to attending more events in the future in an attempt to connect and educate all insured and policyholders.


Seth Knudsen, QCMC Adjuster at the 2010 Fall Home and Garden EXPO

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How to find a good Public Adjuster

The best place to find a good public adjuster is through NAPIA ( NAPIA can provide referrals for every state that licenses Public Adjusters. A Public Insurance Adjuster is the only type of adjuster qualified to represent the insured on a first party property claim. Currently more than 44 states plus the District of Columbia require an adjuster to hold this licensure in order to represent the insured.
A professionally trained Public Insurance Adjuster will act as your advocate and help you to navigate the maze of settling the claim for the full amount due under the applicable policy. Remember insurance policies contain certain conditions that must be met before you can get paid: valuing the loss, presenting it to the insurer and negotiating a settlement. Because insurance policies are complicated and contain certain conditions, full payment on a loss is not automatic.

A Public Adjuster can help determine your coverages and cause of the loss in order to present your claim and evaluate the carrier’s offer or denial. Determining the cause of the loss is a critical step in verifying coverage.

How to Make Sure You Hire the Right PA?
Once again, make sure they are members of NAPIA and hold professional designations. Take your time and do several in-person interviews and request at least five references for each. It may be difficult and intimidating but you need to actually call the references and find out what their situation was. Have your questions prepared before you call. Are they responsive to your questions and seem genuinely concerned. If you hire a Public Adjuster, do so in writing and understand their fees before signing.

more info here: Quality Claims FAQ