It’s Sunday, November 17th and two families, the Jones’ and the Smiths have just finished their Sunday dinner when they hear the weather alert begin to sound on their T.V. Both families had known earlier in the day there was a possibility of having severe weather. In fact, it was a topic of conversation at dinner in both households. Each family was amazed that there was severe thunderstorm and tornado watches in effect. Then, a nearby weather siren in their town began to sound. A tornado had been spotted in close proximity if their homes and the local news weatherman had advised them to take “tornado preparations.”
Mr. Smith grabbed his wife, two sons and family dog and headed to the basement. Now, flashback three months when Mr. Smith received his homeowners insurance renewal and was shocked that his premium and deductible had increased. Furious he called carriers that advertised that they could save him 15% or more on his home and car insurance or ones that promised unbeatable premiums. He switched his insurance and sure enough, was soon enjoying saving 15%.
The Jones family heard the same tornado warning and took heed by making their way to their basement. Mr. Jones, his wife and two daughters all huddled together with a weather radio and a blanket. As Mr. Jones held his family in his arms he thought to himself, “Is my home and family covered if something really should happen?” He remembered his agent telling him even though his premium and deductible increased so did everyone else’s. “It was an industry-wide increase, Mr. Jones,” said an EK Agency representative. “You still have one of the best homeowners policies available but we can see if we can get your premium lower by shopping another reputable carrier?” No, I like where I’m at,” said Mr. Jones. I am not going to worry about saving 15%. “My carrier has always treated me well and your agency has never steered me wrong.”
Before either family knew what happened they were both standing on their lawns and looking at what used to be their house. Mr. Smith hugged his wife and four boys while checking each one of them for injuries and thankfully he did not find any. The family dog was also at their side and doing okay. He looked over and saw Mr. Jones doing the same; hugging his wife and daughters. Mr. Jones noticed Mr. Smith watching and he walked toward him; Mr. Smith met him half way and spoke first, “what should we do now?” Before Mr. Jones could answer a Red Cross truck pulled up to their circle. A crew jumped out and offered the families blankets and warm or cold drinks. They handed out debit cards loaded with three days’ worth of money for a hotel for each family and advised them to call their insurance company and inquired if each family had a support system or family members they could rely on. Both Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones thanked the Red Cross workers and gathered up their family to find shelter because it was getting dark.
The next day Mr. Smith called his new insurance carrier only to be placed on hold for several minutes. He had to use the hotel phone because he lost his charger in the storm. When he finally reached a live person she took down his information and advised him an adjuster would be by to look at his home in five to seven days due to the high demand from the recent storms. Mr. Smith asked the representative what he should do for housing, clothing and food until then. She replied, “Keep all receipts and we will reimburse you any amounts covered under your plan.” Mr. Smith pleaded with the call center representative, “I don’t have enough money to buy clothes, feed and pay for a hotel room for my family?” “I understand Mr. Smith but we do not give out any money until the claim is settled, your adjuster will have more information for you. Just make sure you keep all your receipts. I’m sorry for your loss Mr. Smith.” With that the representative was gone.
The same day Mr. Jones didn’t know what to do. Mrs. Jones said, “Why don’t we call EK Agency and tell them what happened, maybe they can help us.” Mr. Jones agreed. “Yes, this is Mr. Jones. I am calling because my home was destroyed during yesterday’s storms.” The EK representative replied, “Mr. Jones, I am so sorry to hear that. Let me contact your carrier for you to see what we can do for you right now. What is a good number for me to reach you at?” Mr. Jones sighed with relief and gave the EK representative the number to his hotel room. Within an hour he received a call back and a check for emergency provisions such as clothes for his family, food and lodging. The following day he heard from the EK representative again and she stated that they will assist him in finding a contractor to rebuild his home, gave him tips to list all the items in his home that was lost and was available for Mr. Jones every step of the way as he and his family’s home was rebuilt.
Even though Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith experienced the same tragedy Mr. Jones and his family were back in their new home and back to normal life while Mr. Smith and his family still were paying to live in a hotel. Mr. Smith will no longer worry about saving 15%.