"We are so grateful that a consumer-focused organization like UP – completely independent of the insurance industry – is there to help families and individuals, homeowners and renters alike, navigate the confusing claims process after a disaster, and to help them before a crisis as well."
A pictorial journey of recovery
by Karen Reimus
Follow UP Outreach Coordinator Karen Reimus' pictorial journey of recovery from the 2003 Cedar Fire in San Diego, California.
About The Blogger
Karen Reimus is a lawyer and a mother of two. Karen and her family lost their home and all their possessions is the October 2003 Cedar Fire. The firestorm leveled her suburban San Diego neighborhood and destroyed thousands of homes throughout San Diego County. After finding herself underinsured by a top-rated insurance company despite having a brand- new policy, Karen became a grass-roots advocate for herself and her neighbors. She travelled to Sacramento to lobby for legislative reforms and in 2004 Reimus signed on as a volunteer with United Policyholders. Reimus is a contributing author to the Disaster Recovery Handbook and Household Inventory Guide and the Survivor's Speak publication series in the UP Claim Help library. After another series of wildfires destroyed large numbers of homes throughout San Diego County in 2007, Reimus joined the paid staff of United Policyholders as the Southern California Outreach Coordinator for our Roadmap to Recovery Program. For two years after the fires, Reimus worked tirelessly with Bach and other UP staff and volunteers to coordinate well-attended workshops, meetings and support programs that facilitated wildfire survivors' recovery and rebuilding. During this time, Reimus helped establish the UP Disaster Survivor Support Network, a UP Roadmap to Recovery resource through which trained volunteers with personal experience recovering from past disasters offer empathy and support to people struggling to recover from recent disasters. Reimus coordinated UP's outreach and education operation in Orange County, California after a 2008 wildfire, and is now traveling back and forth to Boulder, Colorado where 170 homes were destroyed in a September wildfire. She is invaluable to United Policyholders and to the thousands of disaster survivors she has helped. The City of San Diego honored Karen's many contributions to her community by issuing a proclamation designating October 14, 2008 as "Karen Reimus Day."