Local author encourages insurance conversation | RecordCourier.com

Local author encourages insurance conversation

by Sarah Hauck

An author who moonlights as a bodyguard to the stars in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, has one thing on his mind, helping others, one job with less force than the other.

Gardnerville resident Robert Winter has released his second book “Disaster Manual for Financial Recovery: A Self Help Guide to Receive the Most Disaster Funds” in an effort to become the voice between disaster victims and FEMA inspectors and their insurance companies.

“The real nuts and bolts of how to deal with your insurance company and FEMA after a disaster is really what this book is about,” Winter, a 25-year FEMA inspector veteran. “These are the bare bones of what you’ve got to know.”

As a sequel to his first book “Dust in the Wind: Real FEMA Disaster Stories,” Winter hopes to ease the stress and struggles disasters of any kind can lay on a family.

Many people call insurance companies as soon as a disaster happens to get the ball rolling, only to be shut down with a no claim Winter said.

“I’ve heard it for 25 years, as I’m walking around disaster areas like Sandy. People don’t know they need to have insurance or what their insurance really covers. Some feel if they have insurance, they will get a claim. This book helps explain that doesn’t always happen and when to call your insurance company and when not to, to save you from receiving a no claim and possibly being dropped.”

The manual includes everything from charts to lists to examples of disaster victims and their interactions with FEMA and insurance adjusters after disasters.

Winter encourages even those that feel they are educated about their insurance to read his book, his research aiding in debunking the stereotypes the prevent people from working with insurance companies.

“I learned things on the insurance side that changed my idea of certain aspects of insurance,” he said. “I always saw what insurance companies were doing always thought they were only looking out for themselves. I realized it is a 50 50 relationship in terms of responsibility to a person’s disaster coverage.”

The disaster manual helps people determine, on their own, if enough damage has been done to meet their deductible.

By following tips outlined in the manual, homeowners can eliminate the waiting process for an insurance adjuster to come and access their damage, sometimes prolonged by the backlog of calls.

With the chatter of a Godzilla-sized El Nino weather pattern expected this winter, Winter can’t stress enough how important understanding your insurance as well as knowing what is within your home, can help in the time of a disaster.

“When the next big disaster hits, the insurance industry will only have a quarter of the amount of experienced adjusters,” he said. “Trying to avoid the lack of adjusters for disasters like Katrina, has created a larger number of inspectors that are doing inspections to earn a living, not making it a career like I did. I want people to be able to know when they are not getting a quality inspection, if they even need one. A lot of insurances will do the inspection, but then have to wait for people to turn in an inventory of their homes before they cut a check and people have no idea what was in their home. The manual has an inventory sheet right in the back of the book. People should take a day to inventory their home. It’s one day out of your life to eliminate stress and frustration if disaster strikes.”

Educating and encouraging preparedness are key aspects of Winter’s second book, the first focusing on the memories of disaster victims.

Reviews of his newest book have been favorable for the fact-based book Winter said.

“I have readers from my first book that said they still loved the manual because it was very informative, but still kept their interest,” Winter said. “I like this one a little more because it helps people and that’s what I am about, helping people. I want to be able to help people on the worst day of their lives.”

It was his readers that also encouraged him to jump into a second book less than a year after the publication his memoir collection “Dust in the Wind.”

“People were telling me that they loved reading ‘Dust in the Wind’ but when it got to the insurance chapter it fell flat. They suggested I pull the chapter about insurance out and leave it as is. That’s when a light bulb came on,” Winter said. “My reader’s suggestions coupled with this monster Godzilla El Nino coming I thought people really needed a book that would put things into layman’s terms, or my words, anyway and was easy to understand. America needs a book like this that helps create a better relationship between insurances and customers as well as stressing the importance of being prepared.”

Winter will be appearing at Barnes and Noble in Reno for a book signing of both of his books 1-4 p.m. Saturday.

Both books will be available for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to Winter’s Celebrities4DisasterRelief.org.

Both books can be purchased online at Amazon.com or BarnesandNobel.com.

For more information or to contact the author email femadude15@aol.com or dustinthwindfemabook.com.