Amy Bach, 52
On a crusade since: 1984
Day job: Executive director of United Policyholders
Achievement: Advocates for, and assists, insurance customers
Why she's a hero: Representing a New York State agency on an insurance task force in the 1980s, Bach saw up close how insurers and their lobbyists strong-armed insurance customers. So in 1991 she co-founded United Policyholders to fight back.
The nonprofit's efforts range from lobbying for consumer rights to going into the field following disasters such as Hurricane Katrina to help homeowners get their claims paid.
"Policies are contracts written by lawyers. Are you a novice? Don't expect good results," she says.
When lives were disrupted by flood or fire, these MONEY heroes jumped in to help rescue their neighbors' finances.