Many victims are using their funds to help to pay their vet bills for pet care.
A recent insurance news report has shown that the disaster emergency fund payments are being spent in ways that were not expected, as data indicates that thousands of policyholders are spending half of the money they collect on veterinary bills.
The statistics were collected through cumulative figures generated by emergency fund debit card use.
In order to help disaster victims as quickly as possible, the insurance news reported, insurers have been issuing debit cards loaded with funds that these individuals can be used. This has been determined to provide the victims with the money they need much more quickly than cutting checks to be deposited into the bank accounts of the claimants. Though the insurers claim that individual spending data is not being tracked, general bank information was able to show how the funds were being used as a whole.
The surprising insurance news indicated that for many, half the money was spend on vet bills.
A spokesperson for AAMI, Reuben Atchison, expressed the insurer’s shock regarding this insurance news by saying “And the results were interesting and not what we expected.” The data from the insurer indicated that from July through September, the debit cards that has been issued to provide emergency funds through Suncorp Bank, and which gave access to a total of around $7 million, were primarily used to pay for pet health care bills.
In fact, the insurance news report estimates that approximately $3.8 million was spent on veterinary bills and related pet care expenses. Atchison pointed out that “We tend to forget about the significant cost of housing and looking after our pets when a disaster leaves us temporarily homeless.”
Among the rest of the spending, grocery and food items made up approximately 10 percent. Fuel accounted for another 3 percent. The remainder was comprised of purchases of hardware items, pharmaceuticals, department store products, restaurants and alcohol. The insurance news release pointed out that the cards are not accepted at gambling establishments such as casinos, nor can it be withdrawn from an ATM. That said, it was revealed that there were reports of spending on more unexpected (and less appropriate) places, such as for parking fines, wigs, and toupees.