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The Promise of Insurance Fulfilled 25 Years Ago

Robert Regis Hyle | May 26, 2015

For me, the promise of insurance was fulfilled 25 years ago. On June 2, 1990 a violent storm ripped through southeast Indiana and destroyed my two-story home in the idyllically named community of Bright, Indiana. It was a devastating moment for my young family. My wife and I saw this as our dream house and in a matter of seconds it was in shambles.

Much has changed in the last quarter century, particularly in the insurance industry. One thing remains steady, though: Homeowners need the protection for their biggest investment if they have any hope of picking up their lives.

Insurers and homeowners are better prepared for such events today than they were in 1990. I knew the weather was scary that evening, but it was purely by chance that I heard a local news report on TV warning people in my community to head for cover immediately.

Today, I have a weather app on my phone and if I really want to stare at different colors and squiggly lines, I can pull up the radar for my little corner of the universe. My insurance company also can send me warnings either by text or on social media that bad weather is headed my way.

I was fortunate to be near the home base of my insurance carrier, which send adjusters to the scene of the devastation quickly. In 1990, quickly meant two or three days. Some less-fortunate neighbors waited for over a week to get a visit from a claims adjuster. The lesson all of us learned from that experience was to not shop for insurance based solely on the lowest premium.

Today, virtually every person in this country over the age of 16 carries a camera  and can record photos of every stick of furniture, appliance, article of clothing, and piece of jewelry in their home. If somehow that mobile device is destroyed in the storm, the information is stored in the cloud and can be retrieved quickly.  

I still remember sitting in the wreck of my home with an adjuster trying to remember what was in each room of our house. The adjuster sat there with a legal pad patiently writing down each item and estimating its value. There was a coverage limit on my belongings and when I reached that figure, we stopped. He got out a checkbook and wrote the check right then and there.   

No matter how efficient technology makes business run today, the lesson I learned 25 years ago will hold sway for as long as I buy products of any kind: You may not be able to place a dollar value on customer service, but it is the most valuable commodity any business has to offer. 


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