Posts Tagged ‘ Hurricane Preparedness ’
Hurricane Preparedness for Insurance Agents
Now that hurricane season is underway, you’ve probably taken steps within your home to ensure you’re prepared in the event of an emergency. And you may have sent some information out to your clients. But what about your “home away from home” – your business? While forecasters have predicted a quieter than normal hurricane season in 2015, it’s always important to be ready with a plan in case disaster strikes. In regards to your business, it can mean the difference between staying open to service the needs of your customers or shutting down for a few days.
Here are 6 steps you can take to make sure your business needs are covered in the event of a hurricane:
- Ensure there is a plan for your employees and the plan is communicated effectively. An evacuation plan should be in place and each employee should know exactly what he/she needs to do in the event of an emergency. During evacuation, have a central point of contact for all employees and make sure you know where they are located. Also, create an employee list, including contact numbers for home, cell, email address, and emergency contact information, so you can check on their well-being and communicate next steps.
- Create and maintain lists of pertinent information. Lists are a quick way to have all vital information at your disposal. An emergency outside contact list should include name and phone numbers for fire, police, hospitals, internet provider, building and landlord, etc. Information should be updated at least twice a year and stored outside the office in a secure, accessible location
- Make sure client information is quickly attainable. It’s vital to have a list of insureds and their policies at the ready. A list of insurance carriers and claims department numbers is also helpful to provide clients. All vital records and data should be secured and backed up and a disaster recovery plan for computer systems should be in place. Similar to your home, it’s important to assess your office both inside and outside for safety hazards that can cause increased damage to your business. Sprinklers, smoke detectors, security systems, and generators should all be inspected. In addition, an inventory of your business should be taken prior to a hurricane to make your own claims process faster and easier. Assembling supplies for emergency crews, as well as repairs is also helpful
- Take any necessary steps to hurricane-proof your business. Similar to your home, it’s important to assess your office both inside and outside for safety hazards that can cause increased damage to your business. Sprinklers, smoke detectors, security systems, and generators should all be inspected. In addition, an inventory of your business should be taken prior to a hurricane to make your own claims process faster and easier. Assembling supplies for emergency crews, as well as repairs is also helpful.
- Identify an alternative business site after the storm. If necessary, you may need to move your business to another location for a while. Make sure this site is ready with the necessary equipment to continue operation.
- Be proactive with your clients before the hurricane. It’s important to communicate with your clients and make sure they’re ready. This includes providing information about the claims process, such as listing damages, reminders to take photos, and claims numbers. They should also know the best way to reach you. Creating information in a centralized area on your website offers clients a quick and easy reference.
Being prepared at work, as well as at home, will help you address concerns during the aftermath.
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The Atlantic hurricane season is about to enter the most active phase as conditions for powerful storms improve across the basin. According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, the Atlantic season begins on June 1 and the most active portion falls between Aug. 20 and October. Sept. 10 and is the statistical peak of the period. Now is the time to review your homeowners insurance and discuss coverage options with your agent.
What is covered?
Most standard storm insurance policies cover storm damage – except from flooding. For protection against rising water, you will need flood insurance. Most policies are provided by the federal National Flood Insurance program. In some coastal regions, home insurance policies exclude damage from wind and hail, so a separate windstorm policy may be vital.
Contact your local agent for assistance; if you do not have an Access Home Insurance Company insurance policy, go to Find an Agent on the Access Home Insurance Company website to find an agent near you.
Having an emergency response plan, storm kit with a NOAA weather radio, flashlight, batteries, and first-aid items, and a copy of your insurance plan are essential. For a more comprehensive list and information on what to do just before a storm and after a storm, go to How to Prepare for a Hurricane and download a free hurricane checklist.
Source: *Insurance Journal; August 14, 2013
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