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Headshot of Sherry Peterson

Sherry Peterson

  • Hosted by United Policyholders
  • Sponsored by Disaster Resilience Program
  • Service location Maui, Hawaii
  • Law school Harvard Law School
  • Issue area Disaster Recovery, Disaster Response and Preparedness
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Disaster Resilience Program

 The Project

Sherry Peterson (she/her/hers) will be the United Policyholders representative in Maui assisting households in overcoming insurance-related recovery obstacles following the Maui Wildfires. 

Most homeowners are underinsured and will need assistance maximizing the settlements received from their insurance policy. Maui’s housing crisis has created a gap between what survivors receive for ALE or loss of use insurance. This requires assisting those survivors with FEMA applications for assistance with housing assistance. Tracking and suggesting actions the Insurance Commissioner can take. Tracking legislation to ensure continued accessibility to insurance for property owners as insurers are sending non-renewal notices.  

Fellowship Plans

To achieve this goal, Sherry will attend community functions to increase United Policyholder’s visibility in the community; she will provide education regarding United Policyholders Road to Recovery and Road to Preparedness programs regarding overcoming insurance issues; work with individual survivors in overcoming insurance-related recovery obstacles; and track and provide input regarding policy issues at the city, county, and state levels.  

We live in a world where major disasters have become the new norm. Disaster work has become Sherry’s Kuleana—responsibility and privilege. When Lahaina and Kula burned, Sherry’s Portuguese ancestors who were some of the first Hawaiian immigrants from Madeira and the Azores called her to this work. Here, there is an opportunity for Sherry to use her background and education for a whole community.  

Survivors need a path forward through confusing processes with critical deadlines and major consequences early in the disaster process. None of us is immune to disaster. Before disaster strikes there is critical information individuals should have access to in order to put themselves in the best position for recovery. After a disaster, someone knowledgeable in disaster recovery services is critical.

Sherry Peterson /
2023 Fellow in the Disaster Resilience Program

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