As weather disasters strike with more frequency, homeowners first get hit with the destruction or total loss of property. Many are then hit with the unexpected loss of homeowners insurance policies as insurance companies re-evaluate their financial liabilities.
After a tornado ripped through Springfield, Massachusetts, last year, R. Paula Lazzari’s home was badly damaged. The retired teacher found broken windows, missing siding and a damaged roof. Her insurer offered to fund repairs for one broken window and some of the siding. It took nine months — and mediation services from an independent adjuster and the Massachusetts Division of Insurance — to get her bills paid, according to the parties involved.
In this era of unpredictable weather patterns, Lazzari’s case is not unique. Insurance companies are raising rates, cutting coverage, balking at some payouts and generally shifting more expense and liability to homeowners, according to reports from the industry and its critics.
“Insurance companies have significantly and methodically decreased their financial responsibility for weather catastrophes like hurricanes, tornados and floods in recent years,” the Consumer Federation of America said in a statement after studying industry data.
Read More: Reuters