While emergency communications are essential in time of crisis, there is little if any focus on the insurance industry's role and lack of meaningful information available to the insuring public. Crucial information should reach them before too late. It is difficult to think past what you are taught, as each generation becomes more co-dependent, thanks in large part to the industry's rampant advertising, ironically, paid for by policyholders from their insurance premiums. Would you like to count on insurance? You can. Most people think they are financially prepared for a disaster simply because they carry insurance. However, the millions of people who suffer from a disaster each year such as earthquake, hurricane, tornado and flood generally have no idea what they should financially expect, even after asking around. Nearly everyone has been left out of the loop. Disaster survivors lack their basic policyholder rights and vital information in their time of need, when they are most vulnerable. And, adjusters take advantage. Now, that is something to count on.
I believe that lack of psychological emotional preparedness for disaster, and dysfunction after the disaster apply more broadly than to insurance. I think it has a great deal to do with attitude and a trend over the the last century or so towards people being less self-sufficient and more reliant on others in many ways. When we give up authority in the name of convenience we accede to being led, and that sometimes leads to a walk down the primrose path. That being said, if you lack the basics it makes it impossible to assume the correct attitude for independent thought.
When it comes to disasters there is nothing more basic than the elements of recovery. Those very elements that pertain to insurance took me years of investigation to uncover. Some came to me by research and some came by what must be amazing serendipity. The claim recovery rules that are unknown to virtually everyone, including most insurance adjusters themselves, came as news to me in the mail when someone thought I should have them instead of some other item I had requested from the NAIC, the government entity that makes the insurance rules. And, on another day while doing research in a law library a stranger approached and said, "You might be interested in this," and handed me excerpts from an interesting claims training manual. It laid out insurance industry tactics in dealing with the public and a layman could easily see that companies are out to win, not find common ground. I still have no idea who put that kind of information in my lap, or why.
If insurance companies can put their heads together, team owners use collective bargaining and ballplayers have their players' union, how about the notion of a phantom coalition: "United Public." There are no union dues, ticket prices or premiums to pay and membership is automatically effective in exchange for a willingness to participate. The public has never been united in any such union or pact. In a free-for-all, perhaps all we need is to better recognize our own individual authority and collective impact. Consumers definitely have a separate interest to protect, and only through apathy have they gotten themselves in this situation. They have to break free of the co-dependent slogans, and find their independent voice. However, for that to happen they must be prepared to look beyond the veil and realize they are champions to win that rainy day.