I’ve seen my share of disasters — either covering them as news or experiencing them as an insured. My first memorable storm was Hurricane Hugo, where the National Guard was stationed along the beachfront in Myrtle Beach, S.C., checking the identification of homeowners who were trying to get into the area to see if their homes were still standing. I remember climbing an extension ladder up to the first floor of my parents’ beachfront home to see what was salvageable. Most of our contents were undamaged, but the home on the lot next to ours had been washed away and not even a stick of wood remained to indicate a house had once stood there.

Property damage can be caused by many different perils. Tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, fires and flooding can all cause devastation with little or no warning. It is how insurers and vendors respond in the wake of those calamities that provides the opportunity for policyholders to really see how a company can shine (or doesn’t).

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