Just wanted to say "Good Work" to Colin, and an excellent post, Jeff.
I also work in insurance, and everything Colin has said is correct.
It's not easy to interpret policies. Trust me! The company is not trying to screw anyone. But if they don't know ahead of time the risk they are taking, they don't look lightly on it. For example, if we issue a house policy, and later learn they have a welding business from their garage, they may refuse a fire claim due to the welding. The insureds should have told the company they were doing this, and obtained the correct coverage for this type of risk, which SHOULD cost more, because it's more of a risk than a regular homeowner would be.
Claims are paid to place you in the same situation you were before your loss. You are not allowed to profit/make money from a claim, you may only recoupe your losses.
It is a form of fraud to not disclose pertinent info to your insurance agent. Our application include a question asking if you have wild animals. If I'd said no, and my heat lamp burned my house down, I can see that they may refuse my claim, because they didn't know the risk they were taking with my policy.
However, as far as I can tell, the company is most concerned with liability. They just want to know that your little milksnake is not going to strangle your next-door neighbour! And like it or not, herps are not something the general public knows ANYTHING about! So, you must do your best to educate people in a professional way, if you want them to understand enough to give you a chance.