This year, United policyholders celebrate a huge milestone – 30 years of successful information and advocates for policyholders nationwide.
In its own words:
United Policyholders (UP) is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization whose mission is to be a reliable and useful information resource and an effective voice for consumers of all types of insurance in all 50 states.
UP is not your average non-profit organization. UP has distinctly placed itself in its own class and has withstood the test of time. UP has done this by consistently providing educational information and progress in consumer protection. Regardless of whether you have heard of UP, whether you are a consumer or a professional in the insurance industry, UP has probably helped you in some way, form or form.
Where they started
] UP was founded in 1
The spark for UP was an urban wildfire that destroyed 3,000 homes in Northern California. After the disaster, residents struggled with serious and unexpected gaps in their insurance coverage and a tort process that was often controversial. UP was formed to help compare the terms of play between insurers and insured.
Where they have been
UP's work is divided into three programs:
- Roadmap to Recovery ™ provides tools and resources to solve insurance problems after an accident, loss, illness or other negative event.
- Roadmap for preparedness promotes disaster preparedness and insurance expertise through outreach and training in partnerships with community, faith-based, business and other non-profit associations
- Advocacy and Action promotes consumer law and general policy related to insurance issues.
For the past 30 years, UP has been proud to grow its volunteer corps of disaster survivors, lawyers, insurance staff, financial planners, CPAs, construction experts, advocates and retired judges to help its professional staff promote the above program initiatives.
Under the Roadmap for Recovery programs, “boots on the ground” assistance in disaster-affected areas and disaster recovery assistance libraries are two of the most effective services UP offers. Since the 1991 Oakland storm, UP has also provided assistance to survivors of the following disasters, to name a few:
The Advocacy and Action program has also grown significantly during UP's time. UP files " amicus curiae " (friend of the court) to help the court interpret and achieve consumers' reasonable expectations of coverage. UP recently surpassed another huge milestone in presenting its 500th amicus brief in the past year.
Merlin Law Group understands the importance of weighing insurance cases across the country and has prepared a number of amicus summaries on behalf of the United policyholders on a pro bono basis. One of the most recent amicus summaries prepared by MLG involved an evaluation question – Class v. Liberty Mutual . The entire amicu library is here.
Elected officials, academics, and journalists throughout the United States have increasingly sought the efforts of United policyholders over the past 30 years. UP's impartial voice for insurance consumers has given them respect for influencing laws and regulations. Visit UP's page with advocacy and measures – Work with selected officials to see letters of opposition to incorrect insurance interest rate monitoring from 2008 to 2020 and letters of support for laws that codify coverage minimums, prescribe advance payments and increase protection for claims use
where they should go
As UP itself said, "2020 was a tough year, but we did not miss a beat." UP adapted and provided its usual personal resources online this year. Furthermore, UP launched three initiatives in 2020, highlighted in their newsletter:
COVID-19 Loss Recovery Initiative:
As soon as COVID-19 general security orders began to cause companies to fail, UP launched a national initiative to facilitate insurance payments for to compensate for their losses.
Just as we help and guide individuals affected by large-scale disasters, we help companies assert their right to business interruptions, event interruptions and civil authorities' benefits to stay afloat and resume operations when it is safe to do so
WRAP Initiative :
[UP] made significant progress towards establishing the country's first state wildfire risk reduction program and insurance reward program through our WRAP initiative.
[UP l]] impressed and secured a major insurer for a national initiative (RISC) to counteract the trend of insurers' increased deductibles and add exemptions that deepen coverage age and undermine significant economic damage to property .
I had the pleasure of working for United policyholders before joining the Merlin Law Group. I can not say well enough about UP. In addition, I am proud to have joined a company that realizes the importance of UP's work. Chip Merlin and Merlin Law Group help guarantee the RISC initiative mentioned above with an understanding of how important it is for the well-being of insurance consumers throughout the country.
UP is financed by donations, foundation grants and volunteer work. They do not accept money from insurance companies. During my time at UP, I learned how far each donated dollar went. It's easy to talk about changes in the industry, but it's a different thing to do. I often heard Amy say, "Chip Merlin puts his money where his mouth is and makes a difference!" I encourage you to do the same.
In a follow-up post, we explain why MLG values support for UP and why you should too. If you do not need further persuasion, you can support UP here.