Hurricane Irma, Storm Tips and Claims Info

Hurricane Irma is headed toward the Southeastern United States with Southern Florida likely to take a strong hit. Already the strongest hurricane ever recorded outside the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, 'potentially catastrophic' Hurricane Irma is a Category Five storm.

For storm-related claims, clients of Risk Strategies Company or our division companies, including Kahn-Carlin Insurance and Advanced Insurance Underwriters, can connect with the Risk Strategies Company Claims group directly

Call – 1-800-363-0067 or

Email: claims@risk-strategies.com

If you experience a claim, please call us immediately for expert claims advice. We recommend that you do not sign any agreement which could include an Assignment of Benefits clause. This clause transfers all rights and control away from the property owner and may prevent us from further assistance with your claim.

If you’re in the hurricanes path and haven’t already taken prep steps, it’s time to get busy. Here is a quick guide on things to do and some additional resources to guide your efforts for this and any subsequent storm.

Storm Tips

  • Track the forecasts – Improved forecasting technology makes following storm movements and anticipated track easy. The National Weather Service and The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center should be primary resources. You’ll need the latest information to know when to act. Also, keep an eye on the FEMA site to track federal advisories.
  • Prepare for wind AND water – Wind speeds get the headlines, but a hurricane’s soaking rains, tidal storm surges, and flooding do as much – if not more – damage.
  • Plan for people and property – Storms arrive in their own time. If it’s during the workday, do your people know what to do?
  • Take pictures and videos of your property and grounds before the storm hits. It will help the adjuster more efficiently process your claim.

So what should you be doing before the storm? Here are some of the basics that should be on that plan:

For Your Business

  • Review your structures – Are gutters and other water runoff management systems debris free? Are materials like plywood at hand to use as glazing protection against high winds and blowing debris? Are roofs in good shape and up-to-date on maintenance? Is equipment on roofs well braced and covered? Are sand bags and pumps and other flood prevention and management equipment ready to go?
  • Check your grounds – Are mobile equipment, signage, and other lightweight fixtures either well anchored or moved out of harm’s way? How about sheds and other small outbuildings – anchored and secure? Does past flooding show pre-deployment of sandbags or other flood barriers would be beneficial?
  • Protect your operations – Make sure data back-ups are up to date and in a safe off-site location. Are emergency generators fueled up and in good working order? Fire protection systems, too? Have non-vital systems and potential hazards such as electrical or natural gas supplies been safely shut down?
  • Prepare your people – Do you know who your essential personnel for storm preparation and recovery are? Do they know? Are roles and responsibilities spelled out – from business operations preparation to facilities and grounds? Are your employee contact lists up to date? Are appropriate emergency supplies on hand and their locations known? Has a preferred emergency evacuation route been mapped and communicated?
  • Check your policy – As stated above, hurricane season has been relatively quiet for a few years. Have you taken a close look at what you’re covered for, and not? Connect with us, were happy to do an expedited review to make sure you’re prepared.
  • Looking for more prep information? The occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has some good guidance and resources here. There’s a nice business prep check list here and from the Small Business Administration (SBA) that includes flood prep here.

For Your Family and Home

  • Have an evacuation plan. Check into your community's disaster plan and evacuation routes, both a relocation destination set and an agreed meeting place or single contact point for all family members. And don’t forget the pets. Many shelters don't accept pets, so plan ahead.
  • Emergency supplies kit: Keep in a watertight container, in a place known to all family members, things needed to sustain you and your family for a 72-hour period including: flashlights, a portable radio, extra batteries, canned food, a fire extinguisher (ABC rated), bottled water, cash, blankets, clothing, toiletries, and a first aid kit. Store your kit in a place commonly known to all family members.
  • Fuel up – Top off your vehicles, make sure your cell phones are charged and bring your charger.
  • Valuables and documents – inventory and secure things like jewelry and collectibles. Move Important papers, including legal papers, birth certificates, marriage license, financial papers, and insurance policy information to secure off-site storage or place in waterproof containers and store in an interior closet.

Need more ideas on how to prepare you, your family and property, check out the extensive list from property & casualty specialist Chubb here.