Last year’s Atlantic hurricane season was one for the record books:
• It began before the official June 1 start of hurricane season.
• Two strong hurricanes formed in November, when the season is normally coming to an end.
• Three hurricane names (Laura, Eta and Iota) were retired from the rotating list, due to the death and destruction they caused.
• There were so many Atlantic hurricanes in 2020 that, for only the second time in 15 years, the list of names was exhausted and the supplemental list was used—the Greek alphabet, which is being replaced with a new supplemental list going forward.
• It was the fourth consecutive year that extreme rainfall from a slow-moving hurricane (Hurricane Sally) caused extensive flooding, according to NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information.
The long-range forecast issued from Colorado State University in April predicts an above-average active season with 17 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes this year. As always, they remind everyone that all it takes is one hurricane landfall to make a devastating impact. Are you ready?
5 Steps for Preparing for Hurricane Season
It’s always easier to prepare for an emergency before you are faced with one. Consider taking these five steps now.
1. Prepare your family.
Make sure everyone knows the plan ahead of time. Some questions to ask yourself now include:
• Have you signed up to receive real-time weather alerts?
• How and when will you make a decision about sheltering in place versus leaving your home?
• Whether you stay or leave home, what resources will you need to remain as safe as possible—including items to protect yourself and others from COVID-19?
• How will you stay in contact with family members during the emergency?
• What do you and your family need to know to remain safe after the storm passes?
Click here for some resources to help you prepare your family.
2. Prepare your home and personal property.
You can take action now to reduce your risk of property damage and make filing a claim—if necessary—easier. For example:
• Have you created an inventory of your belongings and placed it and other important documents (e.g., your insurance policies and contact numbers) somewhere accessible but safe from the weather?
• Is your home in good repair and ready to withstand the elements?
• Have you removed all dead trees or limbs from around your home?
• Is your roof secured with hurricane straps, and do you have storm shutters and supports for your windows and doors?
• Have you cleared your eaves and drains? Is your sewer system outfitted with a backflow valve to prevent backups in your home?
Click here for more tips and considerations regarding preparing your property.
3. Prepare your business.
If you own or manage a business, you also need to prepare your employees, partners, clients and property for catastrophic weather. Ask yourself:
• Have you created a business continuity plan, and have you tested it lately with everyone who will play a role in implementing it?
• Do you have a catastrophic weather communication plan in place for employees, business partners and clients?
• Have you made necessary repairs or upgrades to your business property to limit damage from wind and water or to limit other losses due to power outages?
• Have you established a relationship with a known, qualified restoration company to make sure it will have the bandwidth to help you in an emergency?
• Do you know the five steps you can take to streamline the insurance claim process if your business sustains storm-related damage?
Find links to helpful resources here.
4. Review your insurance coverage.
Part of hurricane preparedness is reviewing your insurance coverage. If you haven’t spoken with your broker or insurance provider within the last 12 months, consider doing so now. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of your coverage, as well as what is and is not included.
Be aware that losses due to flooding are not included in most homeowners and business property insurance policies. Flood coverage must be bought separately and generally does not take effect until 30 days after the purchase.
5. Know who can help you.
If your insured home or business property is damaged by a storm, notify your insurer as soon as possible. Carrier numbers include:
• AIG: 888-760-9195
• Chubb: 800-252-4670
• Cincinnati: 877-242-2544
• CNA: 877-262-2727
• Hanover: 800-628-0250
• Hartford: 800-243-5860
• Liberty Mutual: 844-325-2467
• Philadelphia: 800-765-9749
• PURE: 888-813-7873
• Selective: 866-455-9969
• Travelers: 800-238-6225
• Zurich: 800-987-3373
If you are a Hylant client, you can contact your Hylant service team member for help with filing a claim, to ask questions and for help if claim-related issues arise. Hylant or your insurance carrier also can recommend trustworthy contractors if you need help restoring a building after a storm.
Be prepared. Be safe.
The above information does not constitute advice. Always contact your insurance broker or trusted adviser for insurance-related questions.