Insights

Resources for individuals and businesses affected by the fires

 

Our hearts go out to those affected by the devastating North Bay fires. Our Santa Rosa and St. Helena offices are expected to reopen soon. We are fully operational working from our homes and the Walnut Creek office. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones, their homes, and businesses. We are extremely grateful for the brave men and women fighting these fires as well as the organizations and individuals coming together to provide support. ZRC Wealth Management has served Sonoma and Napa counties since the 1990’s. We have already begun to help those in need and will continue to do so in a significant way for years to come.

Resources for individuals and business affected by the fires.

Sonoma County EDB’s Fire Recovery Resources If you are a business owner or employee of a business that has been affected by the Sonoma County Fires, check for information about your next steps.

American Red Cross to find a shelter. Whether you stay at a shelter or not, be sure to register at the Safe & Well Service so that loved ones can find you (and you can find loved ones).

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management System) Apply online for assistance at 
www.disasterassistance.gov and find other resources.


Filing an Insurance Claim
Some insurance companies have set-up help teams. For example, Farmers Insurance has been on the scene with Catastrophic Loss Teams since the fires began.


Ora Citron, a financial planner whose home burnt down in 2009, offers this advice;
  1. Get copy of the policy.
  2. Determine whether your insurance agent will be an advocate for you and has influence with the insurance company.
  3. As nice as they may seem, the insurance company is not your friend. You will be constantly negotiating with them.
  4. Create an inventory of your possessions, room by room, and outside the home. Preferably in a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Review pictures of your home (inside and out).
  5. Don’t be in a hurry. The insurance company may want to settle quickly. Make sure you have all the facts and figures to rebuild your home and cover your housing costs before you accept a settlement. Do not make decisions under pressure. Take your time. Use a journal or spreadsheet to document every conversation and keep every receipt.
  6. Public insurance adjusters are vultures and receive 10% – 14% of the value the insurance claim. Stay away from them.
  7. Assemble a professional team that can help you make sense of the myriad of decisions you’ll have to make. Some one that has insurance experience that can interpret what your policy might cover. If and when you decide to rebuild, a contractor that has experience working with insurance companies and can advocate for you.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. For additional advice, recommendations, and checklists please see;
The American Red Cross: Recovering After a Fire
Insurance Information Institute: Settling insurance claims after a disaster
What Happens Now? Home Fire
Press Democrat: What you need to know when filing an insurance claim from the Sonoma County fires

To help those affected by donating money, goods, or time;
Redwood Empire Food Bank 
www.refb.org 3990 Brickway Blvd, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Redwood Credit Union North Bay Fire Relief www.redwoodcu.org/northbayfirerelief
Volunteer Center of Sonoma County www.volunteernow.org or call: 707-573-3399. Many volunteer opportunities are posted on their Facebook page.
American Red Cross: Volunteer at  https://volunteerconnection.redcross.org/?nd=intakeDonate at https://www.redcross.org/donate/1017c and select “I Want to Support California Wildfires.”
Community Foundation Sonoma County Resilience Fundhttp://www.sonomacf.org/support-resilience-fund/

Stay strong North Bay,


ZRC WEALTH MANAGEMENT, LLC