Insured’s Perspective: The Summer Storm

As relentless sheets of rain cascade onto the saturated earth, the hundreds, thousands and sometimes millions of gallons of water are left with no place to go. At first the water begins to pool in low spots along roads and highways, as if waiting for an opportune moment to strike. Water levels in reservoirs, lakes and rivers rise steeply. Sewage systems are at or beyond their limits. Before long, the water, like a herd of frantic animals, breaks free from these collection points and rushes outward in a desperate uncontrolled search of a place to settle. Much like a herd hurrying away from a perceived threat, this water charges through anything that gets in its way. Trees and Debris, People and even Cars and Trucks get swept away.

Meanwhile, the thunder, once a distant rumbling like far-off boulders rolling down isolated hills, now cracks and explodes as if these boulders were crashing down within yards of where you are. Suddenly an even more terrifying sound pierces the night sky. A siren, reminiscent of World War II Air Raid alarms, screams to all those that will hear. A realization begins to grow and expand from the depths of your gut. Something is coming. Something horrific.

The sound of it grows closer, louder and much more intense. Like a train rolling rapidly over its tracks in your direction. This is clearly and unstoppable force. As crisp snaps of hail pelting everything outside fill the air, the train like rumble becomes a monstrous roaring. Like a jet engine just outside your home, the sound grows and envelops you. It’s the sound of an insatiable, indiscriminate and unwieldy hunger that can be stopped by nothing but time.

Then it reaches into your home. Glass shatters, wood and metal are ripped apart. Lumber sized projectiles are launched through your living room. An agitated, ravaging force seemingly excavating its way to where you are hidden destroys everything in its path.

Then, everything stops. Objects suspended in the air as if suspended in time crash to the ground. After nervously waiting for any sign that there is more, you emerge from where you had hid. As you step out of the room you realize, you’re outside. The walls, the roof, your entire home has just disappeared around you. In their place lie piles and piles of debris. Pictures, personal effects… your memories strewn across your neighbor’s yards. Their lawn equipment impaled into your vehicle.

This scene could be taken straight from a movie. A Perfect Storm or Twister remake. However, the awful truth is that this is a story that is all too real for those that have encountered many of the string of storms that have swept across the Midwest as of late. Between record flooding and devastating tornados many insureds are facing a scene from their nightmares.

Who will you be? Will you be the bearer of bad news? Or will you be the knight in shining armor or the shoulder to lean on? If you are an exceptional agent, you may have been the preemptive protector. Does your insured have adequate coverage? Yes, something like this is terrible in its own right but the tragedy is only expounded when one isn’t able to rebuild.

On Friday this week we will explore what increasingly bad weather means for your insureds and what you can do as an insurance agent to help them mitigate their risk before something like this ever has a chance to happen.