In this episode of our YouTube series Jeepin’ It Real, Megan O’Shea, media and communications coordinator and head of membership for the American Policyholders Association (APA), reveals the dark side of the homeowner's insurance claim process and ways the APA is protecting policyholders.
Ryan: Hi. I’m Ryan Holliday. Welcome back to Jeepin’ it Real. Today, we’re here with Megan O’Shea of the American Policyholders Association, also known as the APA, one of our favorite organizations. Megan, tell us about your experience here at the Restoration Remediation Conference.
Megan: It’s been fantastic, Ryan. We always have a wonderful time here, and we make strong connections. Everyone is always in such a good mood and so excited to be here that it makes it a lot of fun for us.
Ryan: Happy contractors are always a good thing, right? Megan, tell us a little bit about how the
APA is helping not only the property remediation business but also the insurance industry as a whole nationwide.
Megan: Sure. Our mission is to protect policyholders from corrupt insurance companies and their illegal tactics. We know that policyholders aren’t always aware of these deceptive practices, or they think that's just what they should expect. So, the role of the APA is to make sure policyholders know about “the storm after the storm”— that is, how to protect themselves and self-advocate.
Understanding the nuances of how the insurance claim process works is key.
Ryan: That's impressive. As we know, most policyholders will go through the home insurance claim process maybe once or twice in their lives, so understanding the nuances of how a property damage insurance claim works is key. That includes how everyone gets paid and when.
For example, insurance claim check cashing can be confusing. Many people aren’t aware the check requires mortgage endorsement when they get it, which adds another step. Clarity is critical, and ensuring there are good actors on both sides of the fence is even more important — for everyone involved, including the carriers, as well. If one carrier is treating its policyholders improperly, that reflects badly on all the others who are doing the right thing.
Megan: Absolutely. And there is fraud on all sides. We know that, and we understand it. But no one is protecting the policyholders, and that's why the APA exists.
Ryan: Excellent. What other challenges are insureds and contractors facing—other than potentially getting the short end of the stick when it comes to a property damage claim?
Megan: Very often, people don't know what to expect after a natural disaster, and we see insurer fraud in bulk. Also, many don't know about the mental health ramifications of insurance fraud, so we want to make sure that people are ready for the fight they can expect.
Ryan: Yes, PTSD and other mental health conditions can be a challenge after any major event or property loss. I've seen it firsthand, and it’s absolutely terrible to even think that after all that that, policyholders are still not being treated fairly. So, kudos to the APA for doing what you do and bringing some justice to the industry—where it's certainly warranted.
Megan: Thank you.
Ryan: Tell us a little bit more about your vision for the future of the industry, Megan, and where the APA plays a pivotal role in shaping what’s next for the property damage claim.
Though insurance companies are fined when they use illegal tactics, they just budget for the expense.
Megan: We’ve seen increasing issues over the past 10 to 15 years, especially since Hurricane Sandy. And people are still struggling with the homeowners insurance claim process from Hurricane Katrina. We want to see the insurance industry change right now. Though insurance companies are fined when they use illegal tactics, they just budget for that expense at the beginning of the year. We know they are not going to just change their ways. That’s why we want to walk them out of their offices in handcuffs. Only then do we believe there will be change.
Ryan: You are telling me that some of the carriers are actually budgeting for the fines they are assessed as penalties for enacting these dishonest practices in bad faith.
Megan: Unfortunately, yes, they know exactly what they're doing, and they know they will save more than what they are fined.
Ryan: Gosh, that’s running a business, I guess. It's hard to be on your side when you have investors demanding profits, but I guess that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. At least, when those cookies do crumble, we have Megan and the APA here making sure the people in charge are held accountable.
Megan: That’s right!
Ryan: Megan, thank you so much for stopping by and Jeepin’ it Real with us today.
Megan: Thank you.
Ryan: I hope you had a super event.
Megan: We certainly did. You can find the APA at apassociation.org. We’re on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok. So give us a like and a follow. We'll see you there. And as a reminder, our mission is only possible because of members, like Ryan and Ken at iink. We really appreciate you guys, and we couldn't do it without you.
Ryan: Thank you so much, and we're looking forward to sponsoring this year's upcoming APA event as well.
Megan: That's right! Our APA Membership Summit is happening November 1 - 3 in Dallas Texas. We are so excited, and the only way to get tickets is by becoming a member.
Ryan: Got it! We'll see you there.