Saturday, October 29, 2005
The highlight of Saturday was a visit from the Allstate house adjuster. For some reason, this event required corresponding with five different insurance adjusters: A house adjuster, a mold adjuster, a home contents adjuster, and an extra living expenses adjuster.
The housing adjuster was a very gregarious older gentleman from Arkansas who was contracted by Allstate. The legend going around the neighborhood was that you would get a better deal from contractors (who were paid on commission) rather than Allstate employees (who were incentivized to keep claims as low as possible). The adjuster took copious notes as he examined the house carefully. His most notable comment was as he was reviewing our policy: "Aw, man... You need to up your insurance!"
The mold adjuster contacted us a few days later from Florida and given the extent of the damage documented by the house adjuster and in my photographs, gave us the maximum $10K.
The living expenses adjuster contacted us some time later and ended up giving us a modest lump sum. We were not required to send him receipts.
The contents adjuster was the final person to contact us. Despite the amount of water damage to the house, most of the meaningful contents of the house were spared. My mother related the conversation she had with the man, who seemed quite relieved to be speaking to someone pleasant and seemingly honest. People were throwing out perfectly good stuff and claiming losses. Adjusters were being threatened by irate claimants and that one had even been kidnapped and had his car burned. Apparently, the criminal element that had been uprooted from New Orleans and dissipated around the country was taking root in it's new surroundings. He echoed a refrain that can be heard from many people around the world: "What you see on the news is not what's going on."
Over the 34 years that my parents lived in that house, they accumulated a tremendous amount of material, much of which they had forgotten they had and had no use for keeping. However, both parents were "collectors" that, when given the choice to keep or throw away, would almost always keep. It was a hereditary hoarding tendency I'd been aware of since watching my grandmother pack her house to the ceiling before having to be forcibly taken to a nursing home in her late 80's. Clean out of the house was something I had been dreading since my father's stroke and, in some ways, it felt good to finally be getting it over with.