Friday, December 21, 2018

From the P&C Files: Maybe not so simple, after all


As FoIB tsrblke points out, we insure all kinds of other "homes on wheels," why would this be a big deal.

And to be fair, my inclination was to agree with him. But then I started digging, and the facts have caused me to change my mind.

First, there's this little nugget in the actual story:

"She had been gradually building the home piece by piece."

So here we have at least three very different, and distinct, risks going on: first, builder's risk, which is a special policy for when a home is under construction. Second, despite the fact that it will eventually become a "home," it will be a portable one. So does that make it more like the camper being towed down the highway by an F150, or the ones sitting perfectly still at Grannie's Mobile Home Park and Putt Putt course?

The owner did acknowledge that "it was difficult to get her home insured because most insurance companies struggle to classify what it should fall under."

My initial reaction was that maybe she (or the article's author) just didn't try very hard, but then I turned to our friend, resident P&C guru Bill M, who pointed out that sure, there are markets for this out there, but it's not as simple as insuring a Buick. He also noted something we've discussed before: just because coverage could be available doesn't mean that she's going to easily find it.

Why's that, Henry?

Well, the fact is that this kind of case will take more than just a cursory phone call by the agent. He (or she) is going to have to put in considerable time just identifying all those moving parts, and then trying to find the appropriate market (carrier) to handle it. And all of this for a relatively modest commission. So it's likely that even if the (tiny) home's owner did call around, she probably ran into "well, who do you have your current home and car with?" And justifiably so: one-off's like this aren't a very profitable way for most agents to make a living.

It takes much more than a simple cookie cutter approach.
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