Last week’s post featured the new smart phone app that helps insureds quickly capture information needed to document their personal property before a loss. This week, I have written about the organization that created the app — The National Association of Insurance Commissioners — and their recent connection with United Policyholders.

Started in 1871, the NAIC is a voluntary organization whose members are the chief insurance regulatory officials of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories. The organization exists to coordinate regulation of multistate insurers: “The NAIC’s overriding objective is to assist state insurance regulators in protecting consumers and helping maintain the financial stability of the insurance industry by offering financial, actuarial, legal, computer, research, market conduct and economic expertise.”

According to the mission statement, the number one objective of the NAIC is to protect the public interest.

Beside the contents inventory application, the NAIC has other resources and website forms that can assist policyholders. The NAIC created the Insure U education program. Available in English and Spanish, Insure U provides insurance information specifically for consumers relating to life, health, home and business coverage. Visit www.insureUonline.org to learn more.

The NAIC webpage is a helpful resource for policyholders nationwide who would like to file a complaint against their insurance carriers. The large interaction map of the US provides shortcuts for each state’s insurance complaint department. Click on the picture of your state and file the complaint.

Of course, when you click on the Florida link, you are directed to a confusing page that does not mention the word “complaint.” After creating an account and clicking on more links, one can finally file their “Request for Insurance Assistance.” This is the code name for a complaint in Florida. Check out my prior post regarding how Florida hides its consumer complaint forms: Does Burying the Complaint Form Deter Policyholders From Filing Consumer Complaints Against Insurance Companies? Other states like Illinois and New York seem to be candid about the ability to file an insurance company complaint. In fact, New Yorkers need only fill out a quick online form to get an instant email confirmation and file number. Illinois’s page has a great title, “I want to file an insurance complaint”.

Why is Florida so secretive about the complaint form? This might be a good question to ask the NAIC president, Kevin M. McCarty, who is also the Commissioner of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater is also a member of the NAIC.

While the NAIC members include insurance regulatory officials from around the country, the NAIC also recently welcomed someone we know is on a mission for policyholders, Amy Bach. Amy is the executive director of United Policyholders and this will be her first term on the NAIC Consumer Participation Board of Trustees. The UP website explains their goals for the NAIC:

  • Simplifying policies to make them understandable to consumers
  • Reversing the trend of “exclusions gone wild”
  • Making it possible for consumers to comparison shop for quality and price
  • Advocating for all states to enact post-disaster regulations to address the problems of underinsurance and insufficient ALE benefits

United Policyholders (UP) is a non-profit organization that is a voice and an information resource for insurance consumers in all 50 states. Funded only by donations from individuals and businesses, UP does not accept funding from insurance companies. UP also provides a great resource for policyholders who have suffered a loss. In addition to the smart phone contents inventory, insureds should also check out the Disaster Recovery Handbook & Household Inventory Guide, the handbook Amy Bach and Carol Ingalls Custodio published..

At the time of publication, this was ”the first-ever guide to preparing for and recovering from a natural disaster written by survivors for survivors, along with expert advice from trusted consumer advocates and personal finance professionals."

The book includes:

  • First steps and sources of help on the road to disaster recovery
  • Advice on using tax rules specially designed for loss victims
  • Step-by-step guidelines for optimizing insurance claim recovery
  • Tips for reconstructing the contents of a destroyed home, including detailed lists of items commonly found in households
  • How to find the right professional help
  • Tips and information important for emergency preparedness

This is a valuable resource for public adjusters and policyholders. To order you copy call 1-888-894-8621 or click here to order online. 

  • Thanks Nicole. There will be an NAIC hearing this summer in Atlanta where experts on cat claims can submit ideas for new claims handling rules that would improve the adjusting/settlement process after major disasters. Email yours to info@uphelp.org

  • This type of smart phone app is invaluable for the insured in documenting key attributes of personal property damages (especially when there is no PA or Attorney involved early on to ensure that damages are carefully documented prior to the burst out “third party” services whom essentially and unintentionally “remove or disrupt” the evidence of damages sustained to contents). Although this app will not “settle” contents claims in any way, it can preserve the needed documentation that a professional personal property documentation/valuation service provider, working directly with the policyholder’s PA or Attorney, utilizes in the preparation and presentation of the insured’s personal property claim.