A Bureaucratic System

 

Hurricanes. I’ve lived with them since my parents first moved to South Florida in 1963. But in all those years, I’ve never lived in a house or apartment or or anywhere that was damaged enough in a hurricane that I had to file an insurance claim. Irma was a different beast.

At one point during her trek through the Caribbean, her winds reached 185 MPH and were sustained for 36 hours at that speed. If she hadn’t lingered along the northern coast of Cuba as long as she had, she would have ripped up Florida’s east coast and torn it to shreds. By the time we experienced Irma on September 10-11, it was a Cat 3, I think, and had endless rain. Because of the angle at which it came at us, we were able to stand on our back porch for a time and witness its fury.

We lost power briefly – less than 24 hours. That was a huge improvement from Wilma in 2005, which knocked out our power for 10 days, and left some places around here without power for up to 3 weeks. But Governor Scott was and is hoping to win a senate seat in November 2018 and pulled out the stops to prepare for recovery in Irma’s wake. He did great on that; on just about everything else, Scott has failed and actually belongs in prison for Medicare fraud from his earlier years. But that story is for another post.

In October, we had a huge thunderstorm and noticed leaks all over our house. We filed a claim with our insurance company – the first ever for a hurricane, the 2nd in 18 years. Our first claim was for a stolen bike. They sent out their guy.  He did his inspection. We received a check a few weeks later for several thousand, which didn’t even cover the cost of the new AC unit we had to buy because Irma destroyed the one we had.

A friend who works for an attorney (he lost his hom in Key West) told me about public insurance adjusters – independent contractors who work for you, for no $ up front. They take 10% of the new money. We started calling around and finally found  James, my new hero. His inspection of our house took several hours and his estimate was well beyond that of the guy from the insurance company. He worked tirelessly, pursuing every legal angle he could. And finally, about 7 months after filing the claim, after missing several deadlines, the insurance company paid.

That’s Rob on our roof, surveying the work that’s been done so far.

There’s a bureaucratic system to all this and you either learn it quickly or you get screwed. First rule: start at the top with your roof. You, the home owner, take bids for the various types of repairs. We quickly discovered that roofers in this area are so inundated with work that most don’t even return your calls. Our neighbor Annette, told us about Picture Perfect, a roofing outfit that had done three roofs in our neighborhood. Brad, the owner, became my new hero alongside James, the public adjuster.

The bank that holds your mortgage doles out the money like an allowance, once you’ve uploaded all the forms they required. This process is tedious but apparently necessary because in the past people have walked away with their insurance settlements and fled to Tahiti and the bank had to foreclose on the homes. But, hey, whatever. By now, on August 15, we have a new roof! And the interior repairs begin today.

We’ve met some great and really competent people and I’ve learned more about roofs than I probably need to know. We used to have tile, now we’re going to shingles, less expensive and easier to maintain. A lot of homes are opting for metal roofs, like you see in the keys. But they’re more expensive and noisy when it rains! The bottom line is simple: without a good roof, your home is compromised even before the disaster, whatever it is, arrives.

The ten percent earned by the public insurance adjuster, the guy who set the whole thing in motion, who stimulated the economy through roofers and dry board and paint people, plumbers, and all the rest of it, is the last check issued. This strikes me as grossly unfair, and is something our governor, Rick Scott who wants so badly to be a senator, instituted into law.

Why?

I can’t pretend to understand how someone like Scott thinks. But I know what it looks like: penalize anyone who helps the individual. I think these public insurance adjusters need to unionize and demand initial payment up front. After all, without them, without our guy James, Rob would be standing on our old, compromised roof.

Thank you, James. Thank you, Brad. Thank you to all you guys from here on in. And thanks, universe, for no hurricanes yet this season!

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9 Responses to A Bureaucratic System

  1. bh says:

    So just to be clear…Governor Rick Scott, who “pulled out all the stops to prepare for recovery in Irma’s wake. He did great on that” (your words) is now evil and “wants to penalize anyone who helps the individual” now that he’s running for US Senate. I guess I’m just not sure how you arrived at that conclusion, given the evidence presented. Or is it just because he has an (R) next to his name?

    Open-mindedness is an asset, especially in people who write books about spirit communication. Maybe try applying some of that open-mindedness to your political belief system too? Just a suggestion.

    Not all who disagree with you are evil.

    • Trish and Rob says:

      I never said that anyone who disagrees with me is evil. But here’s a fact: rick scott belongs in prison for medicare fraud. He pulled out the stops for irma because he had – has- his eye on a senate seat. This post wasn’t on scott, so no need for other evidence. Google him. Speaking of open-minds, where’s yours?

      • bh says:

        What you call “Medicare fraud” was actually a series of business deals in which the extent of the crime was little more than the failure to check off a box on a form. Medicare rules are very complex (and often contradictory, such that complying with one rule requires breaking another one – yes, really!). Hospitals have entire departments dedicated to compliance with Medicare regulations, and somebody in that department dropped the ball.

        Pretending Rick Scott personally defrauded taxpayers out of millions of dollars is stretching the truth quite a bit – but you are forgiven for not knowing that, since all the media outlets parrot each other with the same narrative. Do your own research. Don’t believe what the media tells you. Read the court documents (I did). They’re all available in the public record.

        Would you apply the same level of scrutiny if he had a (D) next to his name? Be honest with yourself. He’s your governor, not mine.

        • Trish and Rob says:

          You sound more and more like a republican operative. Fascinating.

        • Trish and Rob says:

          You can spin however you like, but the facts are this: Rick Scott was CEO of Columbia/HCA when the hospital company was fined $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud.In December 2000, the U.S. Justice Department announced that Columbia/HCA agreed to pay $840 million in criminal fines, civil damages and penalties.

          Among the revelations from the 2000 settlement:

          • Columbia billed Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal programs for tests that were not necessary or had not been ordered by physicians;

          • The company attached false diagnosis codes to patient records to increase reimbursement to the hospitals;

          • The company illegally claimed non-reimbursable marketing and advertising costs as community education;

          • Columbia billed the government for home health care visits for patients who did not qualify to receive them.

          So Mike would you be defending a Democrat candidate who was the CEO of that company? I think not. Just as the Republicans
          in Congress would be going ballistic if a Democratic Party president did a fraction of the crazed and corrupt antics coming out of the current administration. The silence is pathetic. Paul Ryan, Mr. Tough Guy on spending, is going out with a whimper after raising the national debt to $21 trillion, the largest leap of any previous administration. He won’t stand up against Trump, even as he resigns his tenure in office. Another $21 billion for a useless wall, why not. What a charade.

  2. Blah says:

    Putting down some roof sheathing yesterday morn…..

  3. DJan says:

    I’m sure glad to see that your home is getting repaired, and that you were able to find a way through the maze of insurance forms and whatnot. I hope Walker will be long gone soon, but I’m not holding my breath. 🙂