Legal Forum returns for relevant debate
Feb 16, 2014 | 884 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Speakers who want to draw a crowd need two key allies — an interesting subject that is timely and an interesting subject that is relevant.

Once again, organizers behind the Community Legal Forum have aced both tests.

On Thursday, the Bradley County Law Library Commission’s first Legal Forum of the new year will bring another lively debate to the Cleveland/Bradley County Public Library. The panel discussion is appropriately titled, “Homeowners Insurance Terms Explained: What’s Covered and What’s Not! You’d Be Surprised!”

It’s free.

It’s open to the public.

It’s an objective look at a complex issue.

It’s an open discussion led by seasoned professionals.

And it’s well worth attending.

Whether a Cleveland and Bradley County resident has ever faced the perils of filing a homeowners insurance claim from tornadoes or ice storms or other natural catastrophe is not the issue. The issue is whether you have a full and complete understanding of your homeowners policy, and whether you have a trusted and longstanding relationship with your insuror.

Frankly, homeowners insurance can get complicated. It can even be described as downright messy if an insurer challenges a customer claim.

Such issues are not a fantasy. They are real. Some who know best are victims of the outbreak of tornadoes that mauled Bradley County on April 27, 2011, and another twister on March 2, 2012. On other occasions ice storms might have broken limbs or straight-line winds could have felled giant oaks — right on top of homes or vehicles.

Regardless of one’s experience with homeowners insurance claims — good or bad — any Bradley County resident should consider attending the coming Legal Forum.

Set for the Community Room at the public library, the 90-minute forum will convene at 7 p.m.

These forums, whose history dates back to 2010, are the result of a thoughtful partnership between the Bradley County Bar Association, the Bradley County Commission and the public library. Each provides a representative to form the Law Library Commission, or BCLLC.

Cleveland attorney Jack Tapper, who this year serves as Bradley County Bar Association president, capably directs the forum series. Not only does he coordinate this people-friendly program as an unpaid volunteer, he often serves as forum moderator or panelist, and sometimes both.

On Thursday, he will return as a panelist, and will be joined by Jeff Morelock, a member of the Bradley County Commission who is also a well-seasoned, and popular, insurance professional.

The Community Legal Forum series has rapidly become a highly respected public service in Cleveland. It is an ongoing project of the Bradley County Bar Association whose members work to provide equal access and opportunity to the law.

The most recent forum, which was held at the public library last fall, targeted one of the most talked-about — and least understood — modern phenomenons in the world of real estate and retirement. We speak of reverse mortgages. The event drew a packed house.

Other panel debates have done the same. We believe Thursday’s talks on homeowners insurance will deliver the same draw.

And more than likely, the debate will pack the same informational punch.

Panelists will dissect a standard homeowners insurance policy and explain — in layman’s terms — what each section of a typical policy covers and what it does not.

This is critical because one of the most confusing parts of homeowners insurance policies is the dollar amount of coverage for each type or category of claim, and how the deductible paid by a customer determines what the insurance company will pay for a claim on loss or damage.

We traditionally endorse these Legal Forums because they are legitimate, and are not sales pitches. Panelists are experts in the field and their intent is to sell nothing. They wish only to provide information and to make the public aware ... regardless of the subject.

Seating is first-come, first-served and it is limited. For this reason, those planning to attend should contact the library at 423-472-2163, ext. 126, in order to register.

Attendance costs nothing.

But the knowledge gleaned? Priceless.