Commentary: Insurance companies will always have the advantage on us

Commentary: Insurance companies will always have the advantage on us
October 06
13:22 2021

By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

When natural and unexpected disasters come, we want insurance companies to be visible, not invisible.

Like you, I have insurance. In fact, I have several types of insurance. Each type serves a different purpose, and the costs  are different. 

I am what you would call a legacy insurance holder. My parents had insurance and I learned the importance of having it from them. When I was a child, every Saturday when I was watching cartoons, a man knocked on our door.

It was the insurance man. My mom would give him a few dollars and this routine was standard fare for homes in the East Winston section of Winston-Salem.

As I grew older and wiser, I learned more about the insurance business. I had to know terms like whole life and beneficiary to make good decisions. Being educated about insurance is important. If you are not, you will be uninformed about what to get and how much to get.

Many years ago, I purchased renter’s insurance when I lived in Washington, D.C. Fortunately, I never had to use it. I purchased it for peace of mind. That is one of the reasons we buy insurance. You believe when you pay the premium on time that you will get the service when you need it on time.

Therein lies the challenge. There are too many instances where the theory and the practical application do not line up.

One of the terms we know quite well is deductible. This is the amount you pay before your policy comes into play.

So plainly stated, if you have a $2,000 deductible, you pay $2,000 up front before any insurance money comes. You are almost guaranteed to have a higher premium once you use it.

If you live in states where there are constant natural disasters, then dealing with insurance companies will always be a part of your life. That’s just the way it is. For example, reports say that 85% of homeowners have insurance. The average cost is $1,445 per year.

Recently, Hurricane Ida did major damage in the state of Louisiana. Homes were destroyed and personal property was lost. Everyone remembers Hurricane Katrina, yet Hurricane Ida will be remembered, too. The physical and emotional toll that it took on us was unimaginable. We need prayers for our recovery so that we can get back on track.

This is where insurance companies play a major role.

It is my opinion that insurance companies can help or hurt. It is that simple.

When a family has lost everything –  meaning no house, no clothes and no food – insurance companies must step up and do their jobs. That is why we pay our premiums. We want service and not stalling. We want you on the scene and not behind a desk. Answer your phone and don’t put us on hold.

There are good insurance companies and marginal insurance companies. The latter do just enough to stay within professional and legal guidelines.

I believe we must put more pressure on the industry to do what we pay them to do. Until we do, they will drag their feet and continue to increase our costs. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, the U.S. insurance industry net premiums written totaled $1.28 trillion last year. My friends, we are a part of that number! Let us sound the alarm that when we file a claim, we want results. We do not want avoidance and delays.

Insurance companies must serve the people, not themselves.

James B. Ewers Jr., Ed.D., is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator. He can be reached at

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