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Weather Channel's dumb move, at high cost to homeowners.

Sarah Fox , Oct 02, 2012; 11:16 a.m.

Hi all,

The Weather Channel has announced that it will start naming winter storms. That's a really dumb idea, because of named storm deductibles and exclusions in our insurance policies:

Is anyone at the Weather Channel familiar with "named storm" insurance deductibles and exclusions? If not, they should Google "named storm deductible." There they will find countless articles about the big "gotcha" the insurance industry springs on people whose homes are damaged by hurricanes and tropical storms.

For those of you unfamiliar with named storm deductibles, you may THINK your deductible is $250 or $500 or $1000, but if you're hit by a named storm, that deductible soars to as much as 6% of the value of your home. On an average $250,000 home, that would be a whopping $15,000 deductible!

And then there are named storm exclusions. That's right, some damage to your home might not be covered AT ALL if it's the result of a named storm. For instance, we have supplemental insurance on our heating and air conditioning equipment, but we're hung out to dry if it's damaged by a named storm.

So now the people at the Weather Channel want to name our winter storms?!

Fortunately I live in the South, so our damaging winter storms are relatively few. However, you people in the North should be terrified by what the Weather Channel is going to do to you by naming your storms! It's going to cost you a lot of money.

One might rightly ask whether a storm named by the Weather Channel counts as a "named storm." We and others have asked our insurance companies this very question, and apparently there is no answer. Our policies simply refer to "named storms" and do not specify who must name them. That leaves the policy open to interpretation, and when that happens, the policy holder usually loses.

I tried writing to the Weather Channel to complain about their costly and idiotic idea, but there seems to be no way to do that, other than to offer up an idea on their forum. If approved by a moderator, my idea NOT to name winter storms will be put up on a forum for people to vote on. I suggest anyone else who is concerned also write and/or vote for my idea if they post it. Their general feedback forum is here:

http://feedback.weather.com/forums/170040-general-feedback

Please also spread the word! High deductibles may be a'coming!

Responses


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Michael Chang , Oct 02, 2012; 11:45 a.m.

Sarah, I will be very surprised if insurance companies will tie their rates to anything from The Weather Channel.

The Weather Channel is a cable and satellite television network service. It brings weather information to the public, but it has no authority to set policies or standards.

It might be different if NOAA had announced the introduction of named winter storms.
http://www.noaa.gov/

Sarah Fox , Oct 02, 2012; 12:13 p.m.

Maybe, maybe not. Again, there's no clarification on that question. I've asked a few times and have yet to receive an answer.

Don Baccus , Oct 02, 2012; 12:32 p.m.

Sarah, if the insurance industry tried to switch from triggering on officially NOAA named storms to naming by a random cable TV channel, they'd be hit with so many class action suits after each storm that they would have trouble counting them.

William Kahn , Oct 02, 2012; 01:10 p.m.

Now, if Dave Letterman starts naming winter storms, we're in deep doo-doo.

All that said, and considering weather alone, I don't think it's a good sign that anyone is naming them...

steve mareno , Oct 02, 2012; 01:17 p.m.

The insurance companies will tie their rates to ANYTHING that might allow them to: A- increase their rates, and B- deny claims. This looks like a money maker for them, for sure. These "people" make lawyers look good. OK, that's too extreme, but they certainly do slither around on their bellies. We found a way to beat them. Bought an inexpensive, but really nice mobile home in a great senior park. We put aside money every month instead of buying insurance. In a few years we'll have our replacement fund all set up, and won't have to worry about some little insect in a cubicle in Ohio or somewhere denying our claim if we have a problem. As Mr. Kowalski said, "Ha....Ha".

Don Baccus , Oct 02, 2012; 01:39 p.m.

Well, maybe you guys are right, but the official legal definition used by the insurance industry says you're full of hooey:

"A Named Storm or Named Windstorm is a storm, cyclone, typhoon, atmospheric disturbance, depression or other weather phenomena designated by the US National Weather Service and/or the US National Hurricane Center and where a number or name has been applied."

John Tonai , Oct 02, 2012; 02:37 p.m.

Don,

So what you are saying is that if I decide to name storms, everyone's insurance rates won't go up?
Bummer.
I was hoping that "Downpour Bob" would raise rates by 7.2%

Matt Laur , Oct 02, 2012; 04:20 p.m.

I wonder if Photo.Net's business insurance costs would go up in the presence of Named Threads. You know, like Frank The UV Filter Thread, Tammy The TTL Troll Thread, Peter The Political Punditry Thread, or Rhonda The Rumored Camera Roll-Out Thread.

Some of those threads are indeed big and powerful enough to trash a small town, delay flights, and cause beach erosion.

Don Baccus , Oct 02, 2012; 04:22 p.m.

"So what you are saying is that if I decide to name storms, everyone's insurance rates won't go up?

Bummer."

Yeah, how emasculating this news is, eh? :) :)

I mean if the opposite were true, why wouldn't insurance companies themselves just assign names to every little gust of wind mentioned in the news?


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