In Hindsight: Home Insurance

May 2011 will go undoubtedly go down as one of the strangest 30-day stretch of weather patterns in the city’s history. Perhaps that’s why many homeowners are learning from their mistakes, preparing for better protection for Mother Nature’s next episode.

Earlier this month, I wrote about how despite 96 percent of Americans having homeowner’s insurance, 64 percent of U.S. homes are undervalued for insurance purposes.

The only way to decrease that total is through education and awareness, and the Detroit Free Press does a good job of explaining the three ways homeowner’s insurance coverage typically comes:

  • Replacement cost: While this covers the cost of repairing or replacing a home, based on a set dollar limit, it may not reflect increases in the cost of construction and labor since the policy was taken out. Translation: if a disaster strikes an entire community, higher demand could push up the cost of building materials and labor.
  • Extended replacement cost: The insurer agrees to pay a certain percentage above the replacement cost to account for inflation. But even with this adjustment, homeowners could come up short, especially if it has been a long time since their coverage was updated.
  • Guaranteed replacement cost: The good news is this coverage will pay the total cost of replacing a home, no matter how much prices have increased since the homeowner took out the policy. The bad news is this type of coverage is more expensive and increasingly difficult to obtain because insurers want to control costs.

Most standard home insurance policies also include an “inflation guard” provision, which automatically adjusts the coverage limit when a policy is renewed, but some coverage may charge extra for this.

“Grace Card” movie comes to DVD

“The Grace Card,” the motion picture about two Memphis police officers that stars Academy Award-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr., will be available on DVD Aug. 16.

The faith-based movie was made in Memphis and conceived by Dr. David Evans, a Memphis optometrist who had support from his local church, the Calvary Church of the Nazarene in Cordova.

(Link above takes you to Amazon’s page for the DVD)

The Ford Family Has A Writer


A link to a simply amazing New York Times piece on a member of the Ford family. Here is the story of Victoria Ford.

You really have to read this for yourself. The only thing I’ll say is for decades the Ford family has been regarded by many as a monolithic political entity that, oh by the way, also happens to be a family. Some Memphians don’t even bother to distinguish one Ford from another. That includes those seeking the family’s help as well as those who scorn the family.

There is another side to that. It is a very private side maintained by a family with a very public life in other regards. Only rarely in the last 40 years have we had more than a glance at the dynamics and inner workings and conflicts of the city’s most storied political family. There is a public life that goes up to a certain point and then there is a formidable barrier. All families have this kind of barrier. Few have this kind of public life that serves as the front yard to that wall behind which are the answers about key events in that public life.

Well, politics and public service may be the Ford family calling. But there is a writer in the family and she has written about the family.



Traffic Countdown


You’ve heard about the bike paths and walking trails. The Memphis urban environment is getting another signal that the city is more pedestrian friendly.

It is, literally, a traffic signal.

I spotted it this morning at the corner of Danny Thomas Boulevard and Poplar Ave., an intersection that can be intimidating to even the most watchful pedestrian.

One of the crosswalk signals now includes a numeric countdown that counts down the number of seconds you have to cross.

It’s a big change from the still more dominant crossing signals that begin flashing after just a few seconds even though there is still plenty of time left to cross without running afoul of the flow of the motorized in Memphis traffic that is increasingly becoming more diverse.


Justin Timberlake in Die Fledermaus

Justin Timberlake in an opera?

In an online grassroots campaign reminiscent of the one that landed actress Betty White as host of Saturday Night Live, Opera Memphis is campaigning for hometown superstar Justin Timberlake to perform the role of Frosch in Die Fledermaus at Opera Memphis.

On the Facebook page of Justin Timberlake: Perform in Die Fledermaus at Opera Memphis, which now has over 1,000 likes, Opera Memphis writes:

Dear Justin Timberlake,

It is no secret that you have climbed every mountain you have come across. You are an absurdly talented singer and dancer, a bona fide movie star, a gifted comedian, and a canny entrepreneur.

Only one mountain remains…

The most daunting of them all…