At the end of March 2013, I (California Certified PA(Public Insurance Adjuster) Jae Park) was staying abroad due to personal reason, across the Pacific Ocean from the United States. Late one night while I was working on a tight schedule, I was interrupted because of an urgent phone call from Los Angeles. It was the first consultation call from the client, Mr. K, who was extremely frustrated due to result of the home insurance claim he have filed recently.
Such telephone consultations continued several more times until I returned to the U.S. Mr. K’s problem was so urgent and he was so anxious that I could not postpone the consultation until I arrived in the U.S. Due to Mr. K’s urgency, my schedule was even busier than before.
Mr. K’s story is as follows:
In early March 2013, the water pipe inside the bathroom located on the first floor of a two-story house near L.A. was ruptured. This caused most of the living spaces, including the living room (with wood flooring) as well as the bathroom, to be seriously waterlogged due to flooding. Mr. K immediately filed a claim. After the staff from the insurance company’s claim’s unit visited and inspected the site, the compensation was promptly paid out. However, when Mr. K received his compensation, he was astonished by the ridiculous amount. It was a check for only $600.00.
The insurance agent who heard the story explained to Mr. K that it was because the deductibles for his home insurance were $7600 (when Mr. K transferred the insurance from another major insurance company to the current one, the current insurance agent increased the deductibles from $1000 to $7600. The current agent attracted Mr. K by lowering the existing premium and the agent chose to increase the deductibles. Mr. K didn’t look at the relevant documents after changing insurance companies.)
Whatever the circumstances, Mr. K did not have the personal funding to repair the damage caused by the flooding. This put him in a very difficult position. Due to Mr. K’s aggressive complaint, the insurance agent requested that the insurance company to process the deductible as $1000, since the agent himself caused the error in the insurance contract. However, the insurance company stated that it was impossible to change the contract, pointing out that three years had already passed. This is Mr. K’s case. Mr. K expected me to solve this deductible problem. However, that was impossible. What kind of insurance company would change the insurance contract terms in favor of a policyholder after the damage has occurred?
After returning to L.A., I visited the site. I compared and reviewed the damage, and found some of the scope of damage was missed by insurance company’s staff adjuster. I found items that even experts could miss if they do not pay close attention. After the review I found a clue to improve Mr. K’s situation. I requested additional compensation to the insurance company for these overlooked items. With the claim unit’s sympathy, as they knew about the policyholder’s distressing circumstances, Mr. K received additional compensation and therefore restored the property to its original state. This case was concluded 16 days after acceptance. The insurance terms were chosen by the policyholder. The policy that is processed by the insurance agent or broker will not be changed even if the policyholder insists that there is something he does not understand. Readers, please be aware that.
In fact, this case was too small to handle for me, but as an expert in his field I thought it was my duty to help the policyholder.