UNITED POLICYHOLDERS

San Francisco, CA   |  http://www.uphelp.org

Mission

United Policyholders (UP) is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization whose mission is to be a trustworthy and useful information resource and an effective voice for consumers of all types of insurance in all 50 states.

Ruling year info

1993

Executive Director

Amy Bach Esq.

Main address

917 Irving Street Suite 4

San Francisco, CA 94122 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

94-3162024

NTEE code info

Consumer Protection and Safety (W90)

Disaster Preparedness and Relief Services (M20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

United Policyholders (UP) is an advocate for insurance consumers across the United States. Insurance companies have armies of lobbyists, lawyers and public relations professionals that promote their business interests in the media, courts, legislatures.  Their paying customers, ("policyholders") have United Policyholders, our volunteers and partners.  There is a need to make sure that consumers have access to reasonable insurance policies, and are treated fairly during the claim process. This is especially true during natural disasters. Insurance funds are typically the most important and valuable source of help for people recovering from a disaster, but history has shown those funds don't always flow as they should. Insurers are competitive, for-profit businesses with shareholders, rules and paperwork requirements. Insurance policies are legal contracts. Policyholders generally don't know the rules or their rights, and are vulnerable and overwhelmed. That's where UP comes in.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Roadmap to Preparedness

UP's Roadmap to Preparedness program offers easy-to-use tools and resources that help people take advantage of our organization's hindsight and expertise. The Roadmap to Preparedness program helps consumers avoid the dangers of underinsurance and other common disaster recovery obstacles.  Our Preparedness education program and hands-on tools help consumers:

1. Be insurance literate and make smart insurance buying choices.

2. Keep insurance costs down without sacrificing essential protection.

3. Double check how much insurance is needed for full protection.

4. Benefit from after-the-fact lessons learned by disaster victims.

5. Inventory a home’s contents and store records off site.

6. Know what steps to take to make a home more resistant to damage.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The goal of our Roadmap to Recovery program is to help policyholders get fair and prompt insurance settlements and navigate challenges of repairing and/or replacing damaged or destroyed property. The unique value of our support offerings lay in our volunteers (many of whom lost a home or survived an illness or serious disabling injury), paid staff, as well as compassionate claim help professionals (contractors, estimators, public adjusters, and lawyers) from all over the United States. Through our Roadmap to Recovery program we offer:

1. Free workshops that educate survivors in all aspects of the recovery process: from clean-up to reconstruction, mortgage and debt obligations, taxes, professional help services and emotional challenges.

2. Emotional support for current survivors, as well as insurance and rebuilding tips from experienced mentors in our Disaster Survivor Support Network.
 
3. A secure online "Ask an Expert” forum where survivors can find free confidential online answers to their questions.

4. The Survivor to Survivor Network, connects to firestorm survivors by invitation only. Allows survivors to share valuable information with others who are in the process of recovering from a recent loss.

5. An extensive library of tips, articles, and sample letters, written by UP staff with help from attorneys, consumer advocates, public adjusters, agents, and former industry insiders. Our tips help survivors understand the process and get fair claim settlements.

6. Recovery Kits that include: Recovery Handbook, a journal for tracking contacts and progress, recovery flash drive, and other organizational aids.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Through our Advocacy and Action Program, UP helps strengthen laws that protect policyholders’ rights. We educate the public, the media and decision makers in government and industry on insurance issues from the consumers’ perspective. UP’s highly-regarded Amicus Project advocates for sound public policy on insurance matters in courts of law throughout the United States. 

Through the Advocacy and Action Program UP:

· Offers an ever-growing archive of more than 250 amicus briefs submitted by UP in state and federal insurance cases that affect policyholders. UP’s amicus briefs make points for reviewing judges to consider. Judicial decisions define insurance consumers' rights and insurance companies' obligations, so they are critically important and have long-lasting impact.

· Advocate and network with state insurance regulators and industry representatives through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

· Draft and help pass laws that benefit and protect policyholders. Resist legislation that weakens protections.

· Draw the media’s attention to problems and provide consumers’ perspectives on insurance matters.

· Help level the playing field in between policyholders and insurers.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of website pageviews

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of unique website visitors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This metric shows the number of unique users who visit uphelp.org. Our website provides insurance consumers with tools, support, and guidance for insurance related matters.

Percentage of natural disaster survivors who report that our services are meaningful.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Roadmap to Recovery

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

This number comes from our Roadmap to Recovery surveys that we do in communities that have been affected by a natural disaster.

Number of public events held to further mission

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We hold events for each of our 3 programs: Roadmap to Recovery, Roadmap to Preparedness, and Advocacy and Action. Our 2017 North Bay Wildfire workshops were attended by an average of 500 survivors.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our mission is to be a trustworthy and useful information resource and an effective voice for consumers of all types of insurance in all 50 states. Specifically, we want to ensure that insurance policyholders have access to insurance policies that serve their needs, and provide easily accessible and adequate coverage in case of emergency. UP aims to empower policyholders by providing education, guidance, advice, support, and advocacy when and where it is needed most.

To operationalize our goals, UP empowers consumers with the necessary information for prudent decision-making, assists individuals who are struggling with a claim, and advocates for laws and regulations that improve the market for consumers

Through our Roadmap to Recovery™ program we help survivors of natural disasters navigate the foreign language of insurance rules and the claim process, while they grapple with the pain of deep personal loss. Our Roadmap to Preparedness program provides outreach and education to help renters, home and small business owners take specific steps to protect their assets and build financial safety nets for disaster resiliency. Through our Advocacy and Action program, UP influences laws and regulations to address the needs of policyholders.

As a national non-profit with 26 years of experience in disaster recovery, technical expertise in insurance legalities and a uniquely skilled volunteer corps, UP helps survivors meet this tremendous challenge. We so by leveraging our skilled staff, volunteers, and partners. We are able to have a major impact with a small staff through our:

400+ strong volunteer corps, which includes disaster survivors, lawyers, insurance professionals, financial planners, CPAs, construction experts, patient advocates and retired judges,

partnerships with consumer advocate groups, legal aid organizations, and many other nonprofit organizations; and

powerful reputation within federal, state, and local legislative bodies and regulatory agencies, and is known by the Insurance industry as a strong consumer advocate.

Over our more than 26-year history UP has accomplished a lot. Including the following:

We have provided support and guidance to tens of thousands of disaster survivors through our Roadmap to Recovery Program, including after Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, and the 2017 California wildfires.

We have filed more than 400 “friend of the court" briefs in state and federal cases and in U.S. Supreme Court matters.

Elected officials, academics and journalists throughout the U.S. routinely seek United Policyholders' input. UP has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, CNN, CNBC, and local media outlets across the country.

UP has been appointed for six consecutive years as an official consumer representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

UP has helped change laws in favor of consumers, exposed and corrected wrongdoing and helped bring about successful claim settlements after fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, business interruption losses, and disabling injuries and illnesses.

Unfortunately, natural disasters do not stop, and for this reason we are expanding our Roadmap to Recovery program to allow the organization to more effectively and efficiently respond when the next one strikes. In the aftermath of the 2017 wildfires in Northern California, UP was able to expand our post-disaster services, and create a model that can be replicated in future.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Community meetings/Town halls,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

UNITED POLICYHOLDERS
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

UNITED POLICYHOLDERS

Board of directors
as of 2/5/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

John Ellison

Reed Smith

Term: 2021 - 2023

Amy Bach

United Policyholders

Susan Piper

William Merlin

Merlin Law Group, P.A.

Doug Wertheimer

Industry Capital

Dan Veroff

Merlin Law Group

John Ellison

Reed Smith

Martin Kirkwood

Kirkwood Real Estate Services

Meghan Gendelman

Salesforce

Eileen Freiburger

Abacus Wealth Partners

Norm Boone

Private Ocean

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Not applicable
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/5/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Decline to state
Gender identity
Female

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data