A client forwarded me a news report, Marshall Fire Victim Shares Rebuilding Journey 2 Years Later. The written part of the news report noted:

The end of December marks two years since the Marshall fire and many families still haven’t returned home. Many, like Judy Delaware, continue to navigate the process of rebuilding.

Now, nearly two years later, her family has still not returned home.

‘Losing everything is a trauma in itself. But rebuilding is another trauma, layer upon layer — upon layer of decision making,’ she said.

Delaware said the building process has been challenging.

‘We have, you know, 500 other people here in Louisville who are competing for contractors,’ she said. ‘So the rebuilding process is a whole ‘nother layer of stress and trauma that I think nobody really explains to you.’

One of the things she’s looking forward to the most, she said, is being surrounded by her neighbors again.

‘It’s sad that I know that not everybody, it won’t be that 100% of the people that were here before will be here,’ she said. ‘But we have some genuinely, almost family in this neighborhood.’

I noted the emotional trauma suffered by policyholders in Physical and Emotional Recovery Following Disaster Takes Time.  The American Psychological Association’s article, Recovering Emotionally After a Residential Fire, discussed what some Marshall fire victims must be feeling:

Residential fires can lead to significant emotional distress in addition to possible physical injuries. Losing your home in a fire involves not only the loss of your residence, but also many other things of value such as photo albums, important documents, and treasured objects. Most importantly, though, the home is your place of security, comfort, and safety. After a fire, this sense of security can also be lost and can significantly disrupt the normality of daily life.

According to research, children, and adolescents can react in a variety of ways when dealing with a fire including experiencing anxiety, nightmares and sleep disorders. A child’s ability to cope is highly influenced by how their parents and caregivers deal with crisis. Because children often look to adults for guidance, support, and information, it is important to work toward coping successfully so that you may serve as a positive role model for your children. You are likely their main source of security during this time. Be open to children sharing their thoughts, concerns, and ideas. Encourage them to return to their normal routines, including playtime. Be careful not to use your children as a way of venting your fears and worries.

Insurance educator Bill Wilson posted this comment to The Emotional and Mental Health Damages from Natural Disasters and Climate Change:

Even a seemingly minor claim, especially for someone who rarely experiences insured losses, can have an emotional impact. In 2018, I had my first auto accident in 50 years. No bodily injury and not a great deal of physical damage, but when I got out of my car in the middle of the road during rush hour, my knees almost buckled. I blogged about my experience here:


I have no complaints about the amount of the settlement but the way the claim was handled over time was poor. I read a lot of industry publications and the hot topics are most often about using technology, especially for claims processing.

Technology is a tool, not the process itself. The insurance industry should not lose track of the fact that a property claim involves human emotions. Assurance and regular communication are critical. Sometimes a phone call is warranted and how much can 5 minutes cost in the process?

I agree with Bill. Regular follow-up with a compassionate phone call is a critical step required of all claims professionals.

Thought For The Day 

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

—Maya Angelou