This, Too, Shall Pass

The scope of Hurricane Irma damage is unprecedented. As you begin clean-up efforts, here are a few tips to help ensure any insurance claims can be handled in a straightforward manner.

People Before Property

Your people are your business. Stay in regular contact and assist where needed to ensure your workforce makes it through okay. Agencies ready to assist include FEMA and non-profits like the Red Cross.

Proceed With Caution

Before you get to work on repairs connect with specialists who can check out things that might cause more damage or inflict injury, like:

  • Pumping out standing water and checking structural integrity.
  • Disconnecting equipment that could cause injury or damage if power is abruptly restored.
  • Removal of dangerous materials, wreckage, wildlife or chemicals swept in by the storm.

Even then, proceed carefully with your efforts:

  • Use flashlights in the dark, not candles.
  • Stay out of buildings where there is a gas smell and report same to the utility company.
  • Keep away from dangling or fallen power lines and report them to the utility company.
  • Avoid walking in flooded areas. There can be sharp or dangerous debris hidden beneath.

Document For Claims Coverage

  • Take pictures and retain any damaged property, if possible. Don’t risk you or your employee’s safety, but photos or videos of flood waters affecting your business or property – both standing and as it recedes - is important for evaluating water damage.
  • Document details of your service interruptions, including time, location, and reasons. Also note specifics about affected equipment such as substations, transmission lines, and distribution lines and its approximate distance from your property.
  • Detail your losses, clean-up efforts and their costs, including:
    • Employee payroll records documenting their cleanup and recovery efforts – hours worked, tasks performed, pay rates and any.
    • Purchase orders or estimates of all contracts for repair or replacement of damaged assets.
    • Profit and loss accounts reports covering the prior two years for any affected sites.
    • Your records of fixed asset and depreciation.
    • Business plans including budgets and forecasts made before the storm.
    • Your most recent inventory.

By putting your people first, proceeding with caution and carefully cataloging the damage, full scope of losses and your efforts at restoration, you can make an historic storm a bit less of a disaster for yourself and your employees.

Need some more ideas? Check out these two posts from Chubb.

And, of course, if you do have a claim from the storm, the Risk Strategies Company Claims group is here to help - 1-800-363-0067 or