Hurricane Florence has been a timely reminder that the end of the Atlantic hurricane season is still two months away. While the businesses affected by that storm continue to deal with the aftermath, it is a good time for property owners in all areas of the country to plan ahead in the event of damage resulting from a catastrophic weather event. Pass along the information outlined below to ensure that your clients are prepared for severe weather.
Your storm preparation should include making a record of the names, addresses, phone numbers, policy numbers, and other identifying information concerning your various insurance carriers. Keep a copy of this information in a secure, preferably waterproof, location so that you will have the necessary information at your fingertips to report claims to your insurance company. A claim can usually be reported to a carrier by either the agent or the insured, but each claim should only be reported once. Claim reporting information should include the following:
- Your business name, address and phone number
- The name and phone number of the person to be contacted by the insurance company
- Contact information for the insured and/or the insured’s representatives
- Policy number
- Date, time, and location of the loss
- A brief description of the damage (if multiple buildings are damaged, specify which buildings are damaged with specific addresses for each)
Once you have reported the claim, a claims representative will contact you to arrange for an inspection of your property. While awaiting further action by your insurance carrier, there are a few actions you may wish to consider:
- Ensure the safety of anyone who may be on the property. If a building is not stable, do not enter it or allow anyone else to enter it.
- Check for downed or damaged electrical and gas lines and notify the appropriate authorities immediately.
- When safe, make emergency and/or temporary repairs to mitigate further losses. Keep detailed records and receipts for your insurance company.
- Do not discard any item without checking with your claim representative first.
- Document damage and repairs through photos and videos.
- Be prepared to provide your claim representative with copies of all documents such as photographs, emergency repair invoices, receipts, and inventories.
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