In the United States, it has been a relatively quiet year for catastro- phes. There were wildfires along the West Coast earlier in the year;
the earthquake in Napa Valley, Calif., in
August; and flooding in the Midwest,
Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. The recent
Polar Vortex that blanketed much of the
country and dropped more than five feet
of snow in some areas has also done extensive damage in terms of collapsed
roofs and structures. Flooding from the
melting snow may produce secondary
damage for many homeowners.
No one can be totally prepared for everything, but taking steps before a disaster strikes can minimize the impact for
insurers and their policyholders.
Here are some recommendations to
help prepare for a wide variety of catastrophes.
• Prepare a photo inventory of your
home or office. Go room by room and
take digital photos of the contents. Pay
particular attention to antiques, unique
works of art, office equipment and any
irreplaceable items. Jewelry, furs, expensive “toys,” electronics, collections
(i.e., stamps, coins, dolls, pottery, etc.)
should be catalogued and may require
their own policies depending on their
value. Memories become fuzzy and establishing the value of heavily damaged
items becomes a challenge after the fact.
on your desktop or phone, or on the
television. This will keep you abreast
of possible storms, hurricanes, snowstorms and tornadoes, so you can contact your policyholders, prepare your
office and move resources into position
for after the weather event.
of the major networks, the Weather
Channel or several local news stations
around the country to track breaking
news of storms and other disasters so
you’re notified as soon as possible.
items like batteries, bottled water,
canned goods and a can opener, matches and flashlights in case a disaster hits
with little notice. Most people have
these items in their homes, but tracking them all down when the lights are
out can be a challenge.
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Preparing for the
Next Catastrophe Season
By Patricia L. Harman, PropertyCasualty360.com