Perfect Storm Meets Perfect Protection

Hurricane Sandy was termed “the perfect storm”. Since it hit New York, it was the lead story, not only locally, but nationally, too, and its details were enthralling: 110 houses burned to the ground, Atlantic City boardwalk and 100-year-old amusement park destroyed, NYC transit system swamped, record level flood surge, boats of all sizes “tossed like toys” and many sunk, power out for millions, entire neighborhoods cut off by water. Yes, it was (and remains) devastating to many. I cannot help but remember how it was during Hurricanes Irene and Lee, in August of 2011; and before that the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan that same year. Haiti was devastated by an earthquake in January 2010, and it was just a few years earlier that America was attacked by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Storms have been a reality of living on planet Earth long before any of us were born and will persist long after we are gone. It is the risk we take by living in a world that is alive and dynamic. Perhaps the moon is more tranquil, but even it is being bombarded by meteorites and has no atmosphere! No, there is no place in the universe without risk.

So why do I point out the obvious?

Because, perhaps like you, I am confident that in time, all of the damage from Hurricane Sandy will be cleaned up, fixed up, rebuilt, and life will “return to normal.” But how does that happen? Certainly, much is accomplished by various governments (your tax dollars) and charities (your donations), but the vast majority of life getting “back to normal” is accomplished because someone was prudent enough to consider the wisdom of purchasing insurance contracts. What you and I call a “policy” is really nothing more or less than a contract. These voluminous documents, that few people tend to actually read, contain the promise to pay under various conditions, including all of the carnage the above-referenced storms brought about: fires, floods, wind, water, power outages, etc. However, the reality is that because most people do not read their policies, they do not know what is covered and what is not. The details within such contracts will either satisfy the purchaser’s need and expectation, or they will not. Too often, we find that people do not have the “correct” coverage because they did not know about its availability, mistakenly thought they had coverage when in fact they did not, or they just did not think “it would happen to me”. Being an insurance broker, agent and counselor is difficult from the point of view that we do not want to scare our clients into purchasing insurance protection, but we also know that the possibility of loss looms large for most people. Ideally, we would like to help you avoid loss in the first place by encouraging you to install smoke alarms, sump pumps, sprinklers, fire doors, implementing evacuation procedures, etc., but ultimately, none of these measures will stop all losses from happening. Due to this reality, it then becomes our job to inform you of what is available and allow you to decide if the cost of insurance outweighs the cost of risk. When disasters strike, it is nice to know that, through the institution of insurance, there is reimbursement available to rebuild again. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of the hope of restoring futures.

Brian H. Merriam, CPCU, ARM, AAI

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Schenectady, New York 12305

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Brian H. Merriam, CPCU, ARM, AAI

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