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Total Loss: A Column About Inventorying Other People’s Tragedies

Stef Willen works for the leading West Coast natural disaster company. Her thorough inventory of everything in a burned-down home or business helps owners receive fair settlements from their insurance company. She planned on doing it for a couple of months. Then a couple more. Then maybe long enough to write a book about it. Now it’s what she does, and she gets a decent paycheck if someone’s charred dwelling is at least 3,500 square feet. If they are a clinical hoarder, she doesn’t have to work for the rest of the month.