February 4, 2010
MALIBU FIRE VICTIM HELPS HOMEOWNERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY PREPARE
Malibu local Bradford Stanley and family lost their home and all their possessions in a 2007 Southern California wildfire. Then, they negotiated with an insurance company that didn't make it easy to receive compensation. Now, Brad employs these experiences, to make sure that others are prepared ahead of time.
MALIBU, CA. November 24, 2007 changed our lives forever.
The call came in at 4:00 a.m. A fire was raging out of control in the brush-covered hills of Malibu, four miles from the Stanley residence. Still, Anita Stanley made a pot of coffee; the family had experienced multiple fire evacuations since 1999. "Anita, I think this one is different," said her husband Brad on return from a drive to assess the situation. Then the power went out. By 6:30 a.m. nothing remained of their home.
Amidst the many challenges, Anita began a laborious six-month effort to recreate the personal property inventory and proof of purchase their insurance company required for a claim settlement. She was aided by a series of photographs Brad had taken of their home and property as a precaution after the first of the seasons fires. The images helped her recollect the scope of the family's belongings. "After your life has turned upside down you just don't have the wherewithal to make inventory lists from memory."
But even though the couple had planned ahead, they rapidly discovered that the meticulous documentation their insurer required was overwhelming. Everything needed to be accounted for. While they had visual documentation of large items such as their wide screen television and living room furniture, the insurer also needed precise information on everything from kitchen cutlery, clothing items and bed sheets as well as more complex estimates for construction costs on their home.
Today, Brad uses his family's experience to help Southern Californian families living in fire, earthquake, or flood areas to plan ahead. The first step Brad's company emphasizes for other families is to get important documentation and detailed photographs of your property out of harms way. And Brad learned from his own experiences.
In the case of disaster or theft, families may access their DocuHome information via any computer. Thus, even in scenarios when personal or business computers are destroyed or stolen, families and individuals may immediately begin their claims process. In addition to generating claim-ready personal property inventories, DocuHome's software application demonstrates the level of insurance coverage needed for your personal property. Often residents discover after-the-fact that though they copiously paid for insurance, their level wasn't enough.
While disaster seems to occur on a television screen and not in real lives, many homeowners will face similar circumstances to the Stanley's. In 2007, FEMA reported there were an estimated 1.6 million fires with direct property loss due to the fires estimated at $14.6 billion.
"Of course, I hope others don't go through our experience," said Anita,
"But the truth is: it is necessary to be prepared."
"We donate to the American Red Cross. They were first responders to our founders tragic event. 5% of all proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross."
DocuHome develops technologies that facilitate the documentation and storing of personal and/or business assets. In addition to better disaster-preparation, DocuHome services are applicable for estate planning, real estate photo tours, property and vacation rentals, divorce settlements and small business inventories.
About Bradford Stanley
Bradford Stanley is the CEO and Founder of DocuHome. For over 15 years, Brad consulted in information architecture and web design for more than 300 clients such as Countrywide, Coldwell Banker, Westside Estate Agency, Paramount Pictures, Fujitsu and Microsoft.
Brad grew up in Pacific Palisades/Malibu area. He currently lives in Calabasas with his wife and son, waiting for construction to start where his house once stood.
Phone: (310) 855-3628