Last year’s trifecta of hurricanes, Harvey, Irma and Maria, is not a distance memory for any of the communities hit by these devastating storms. Unfortunately, hurricane season – running from June 1 through November 30 – will be knocking on our doors again. Global Weather Oscillations (GWO) has predicted the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season to be “somewhat of a repeat of 2017, claiming this year will bring more devastating storms. GWO anticipates 16 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes, with two likely to be “major impact storms.” The research team at Colorado State University (CSU) has also predicted an above-average Atlantic hurricane season, with 14 named storms of which seven are expected to become hurricanes and three to reach major hurricane strength (categories 3-4-5).
Both the GWO and CSU have warned coastal property owners to take the proper precautions. Even those who don’t reside (or have businesses) near the coast should take heed and beef up their safety plans. Here are several tips to share with your personal lines clients:
- Determine the risks to your home, property, or business
- Develop or update an emergency evacuation plan and review the plan carefully with your family
- Make sure you have adequate insurance
- Assemble a disaster supply kit
- Strengthen your home and complete any needed repairs
- Identify your trusted sources of information for any severe weather event or hurricane; credible and timely information is very important to taking the appropriate actions in the event of an emergency
- Complete a written hurricane plan and keep it in a safe, easily accessible location
Have an emergency preparedness kit ready and designed to your specific needs. Some items residents may want to include in their kit are:
- Water (at least one gallon per day per person)
- Non-perishable packaged or canned food (enough for at least 3 to 7 days)
- Any necessary medication (enough for two weeks)
- Written instructions for care and medication (including medication dosages, a list of medical devices you use, and a list of your doctors)
- First aid kit
- Flashlights with extra batteries
- Pet care items (including any pet medications)
- Other important documents stored in a waterproof container
Be prepared for power outages with an emergency backup plan. Both Texas and Florida remind us how fragile our energy infrastructure can be: Many Florida businesses struggled for some time due to loss of power from Irma and, according to Austin Energy, Hurricane Harvey left more than a quarter-million customers without power in Texas. Having a backup generator in place will provide a home with temporary power during an emergency. Permanent standby or portable generators are available, with each type having its benefits and drawbacks. Be sure to review each type to make an informed decision as to which generator will work best.
RPS is available to assist you in getting the insurance coverages your personal lines customers need to protect them from risk. We can help you insure everything from mobile homes to condos and luxury homes to rentals and vacation homes.