IIABA & FAIA Offer Consumer Safety & Claims Tips as Hurricane FrancesApproaches Florida
ALEXANDRIA, VA, Sept. 2—Severe weather from Hurricane Frances is headed toward Florida. Current weather reports predict the dangerous Category 4 hurricane could hit the state as early as Friday night. The area is expected to experience high winds, sudden power outages and pounding rains.
Dangerous storms leave behind paths of damage. The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) and the Florida Association of Insurance Agents (FAIA) advises consumers to avert disaster by taking safety precautions that will help protect themselves, their families and their homes and possessions.
As a rule, homeowners’ insurance polices will cover wind damage from Hurricane Frances, while the National Flood Insurance Program will cover damage from flooding caused by the storm.
IIABA and FAIA offer the following tips for hurricane safety:
• Assemble a disaster supplies kit and heed weather and evacuation warnings. This kit should include first-aid supplies, non-perishable food, battery-powered flashlights and a radio, bottled water, and blankets.
• Inventory your belongings. Keep a hand-written or videotaped inventory of your valuables in a safe place, along with insurance policies and other important documents. Maintain receipts, invoices, canceled checks, credit card statements and other papers that establish the value of your property and possessions.
• Make a utilities checklist. Be sure everyone in the house knows how to turn off gas, water and other utilities if necessary.
• Review your homeowners’ and flood insurance coverage. Check annually to make sure you are fully protected for weather-related disasters and floods.
• Remove dead branches from trees in or near your yard. This will minimize flying debris.
• Bring pets inside, move cars into garages, and secure windows, awnings and lawn furniture. Driving wind or hail can cause severe damage to these items or turn them into projectiles.
• Watch for flash floods. Never walk or drive through fast moving water. Flash floods can develop so quickly and move so swiftly, they can sweep cars away.
After the hurricane has passed, IIABA and FAIA advise residents in the disaster area with damage to their homes or businesses to:
• Make an inventory of all damaged property before cleaning up debris. Make two copies of this inventory—one for yourself and one for the insurance adjustor. Photos of the damages will assist the claims process.
• Try to make temporary repairs to prevent further damage. Cover holes in the roof, knocked-out windows and collapsed walls to prevent further damage. Save receipts for temporary repairs and materials to give to your insurance adjuster so you will be reimbursed for the expense by your insurance company.
• Contact your insurance agent to notify the agent of damage to your
property and to file claims. Describe damage and losses to your insurance agent, who will in turn contact your insurance company or a professional insurance adjuster who will contact you to inspect damages and settle your claim.
• Report downed utility wires and stay out of damaged buildings and areas.
IIABA and FAIA have spokespeople who can offer expert advice about recovering from a natural disaster. They can:
• Explain how to recover from storm and flood losses, even if the property is not insured.
• Provide tips on emergency repairs and rebuilding.
• Offer tips for “drying out” safely and replacing belongings.
• Give advice on minimizing losses and damage as waters continue to rise.
• Provide financial information on small businesses and the uninsured.
• Offer information on the National Flood Insurance Program.
For more information, or to speak with a local IIABA or FAIA spokesperson, call;
Office: (703) 706-5445
Cell/Weekend: (703) 585-9840
Office: (850) 893-4155 ext. 379
Cell/Weekend: (850) 264-6413
Office: (850) 893-4155 ext. 370
Cell/Weekend: (850) 545-6377
Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—
property, casualty, life and health—as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.