As an insurance agency owner, I see bad things happen to good people all the time. Unfortunately in the insurance industry, it’s the nature of the business. Hopefully, our clients have accepted our risk management recommendations and have coverage in place that will help them recover from a loss. But even when they do have the insurance coverage that they need to help protect them……disasters and claims can still disrupt their lives.
Hurricane Matthew hit Hampton Roads like a sucker punch from Mike Tyson. We didn’t see Matthew coming and, as a community, we were woefully unprepared. Many of our clients experienced extensive flood losses. In many cases, clients who have never had a flood claim and who announced previously that their homes had, “never flooded and wouldn’t flood”…were inundated with a foot or more of water in their home.
One of our clients in particular experienced such a loss. While our client, thankfully, had flood insurance, they had chosen to increase their flood deductible in order to minimize the cost of their flood policy. As a side note, in some cases, it may be a great option to increase your deductibles to a higher level in order to keep your insurance premiums down. However, the key to this strategy is to know how much you can comfortably pay out of pocket. If you set your deductible to a limit that you cannot pay…then you will find yourself in a very bad position. Unfortunately, this client raised their deductible beyond their ability to pay. And this caused big problems for them.
Their problem was exacerbated by the fact that all of the restoration contractors that they contacted to extract the water and prevent mold from forming in their wet walls required the flood insurance deductible to be paid up front prior to beginning remediation. Our client found themselves in a very bad situation. If the work did not begin immediately, their home would be ruined and they would lose the equity that they’d grown. However, they did not have the money to cover the flood deductible. It was really a bad situation.
I was in the midst of counseling our client and trying to find a plausible solution for their family in this unfortunate situation…when something amazing happened.
During the time frame that I was going through this process with our client, I had a meeting with other local entrepreneurs. Naturally, the topic of Hurricane Matthew came up along with many stories of people that were impacted. During that conversation, I shared the circumstances that this particular client was facing (while maintaining client confidentiality) with my business owner friends.
And something amazing happened.
One of my friends is an owner of a local construction company. He immediately went into action to help this client that he had never even met before. He reorganized his jobs and crews and had a team at my clients home to begin the mitigation efforts within a day. It was amazing. He wasn’t concerned with collecting the deductible up front. His only goal was to make sure my client’s situation did not become worse than it already was and to help this family recover from the damages of flooding on their home. What happened next was even more amazing.
Soon after my meeting I received a call from one of my other business owner friends who was touched by my client’s situation and wanted to help. He had discussed the situation with his wife and they offered to pay my client’s deductible (an amount of thousands of dollars). Quite frankly, I was awestruck. I shared the offer with my client and she was literally in tears. My friend and his wife, based on their personal calling to do good things for others and their relationship with God, decided to help my client.
The decision for my friend to do this for my client is nothing short of miraculous. I have never experienced anything like this in my career as an insurance agent. My friends have never met my client; they were simply inspired to help someone who was in a very difficult predicament and freely gave my client thousands of dollars to make a significant difference in their life.
This client lost personal belongings that cannot be recovered at any cost (such as a lifetime of photos that were ruined in the flood). While their house will be reconstructed, they had made the decision to eliminate their contents coverage to reduce cost and will have things that cannot be restored. This client still has struggles to overcome. But were it not for the generosity and giving spirit of my friend, this client would be losing much, much more. My friend has literally changed this client’s life.
Being a conduit between my client and friend is a humbling experience. I am deeply touched and reminded how wonderful people really are. My friend’s generosity is also very contagious. I am inspired and touched by their amazing act and I hope you are too.
So what is the take-away lesson from this story? First, no matter where you live, your home CAN flood, so you should carry flood insurance on your home. Secondly, it is vital to make sure that the deductibles you select on your policy are set to an amount that you can pay out of pocket. Thirdly, even if you’re trying to save money, consider keeping at least some contents coverage on your home. In cases of flood loss, countless irreplaceable items could be lost. Those can’t be replaced. But having at least some contents coverage on your home’s flood policy can relieve some of the weight of replacing other items in your home.
Lastly, and most importantly, the take-away from this story is that: people can be unbelievably good to others. They have the capacity to give and help and contribute to other people’s lives in amazing ways. In this example, my friends, both of which have built successful businesses, chose to give to someone in need simply because they were able to and someone needed help. Even someone they had never even met. People can be pretty amazing, huh?
Richard Braun, CFP, LUTCF
The Braun Agency, Nationwide
The Braun Agency’s mission is to help you get from where you are to where you want to be financially by planning, achieving your plan and protecting your plan from unexpected events. In the process, our goal is to deliver insurance services in a manner that exceeds your expectations. See what The Braun Agency can do for you today. Give us a call at 757-452-4563 to speak with one of the licensed, professional members of our team or request a contact here. The Braun Agency. We’re on YOUR side. 757-INSURANCE.