Last week I wrote about how my sump pump failed and flooded my basement. And how my insurance agent broke the news to me that I was â€œnot coveredâ€ for the damage. I also shared with you how to avoid this predicament with a little $10 fix. If youâ€™d like to read the first part of this column, just visit www.codreamhouse.com and click on â€œNews.â€
This week I want to talk about what went wrong on the insurance end of this ordeal. Itâ€™s simply this: The insurance industry has strayed too far from their mission, which is to help people. The list of exceptions, exclusions, riders and additional coverage gets longer every day, while the list of what they actually cover keeps getting shorter. Iâ€™m not sure when this trend started, but clearly over the last 10 to 15 years insurance companies have lost their way in their primary responsibilityâ€”instilling confidence and peace of mind in the people that buy their policies.
I know plenty of people along the Gulf Coast that have story after story of how their insurance company let them down following the hurricanes. I know a local builder who said he signed up for a new business liability policy, but the exclusion pages were almost as long as the policy. By the time he finished reading the exclusions he realized there was no need for a liability policy because it didnâ€™t cover anything he would normally be sued for.
The insurance industry needs a shake-up akin to whatâ€™s going on with Wall Street. How about getting back to the business of taking care of people and tending less to the business of creating exclusions? We, as consumers, can do something about this injustice by making our voices heard with leaders in the insurance industry as well as with our elected officials. We can also choose to do business with only those insurance companies carrying the fewest exclusions, exceptions, riders and additional coverage.
Especially these days, consumers need more bang for their hard-earned buck. And I, for one, believe that a good place to start is with the insurance industry.