AUSTIN, Texas – As the nation reflects on the devastation that followed Hurricane Katrina it is important to recognize the stories of personal loss, resilience, and continued recovery as well as the improvements made in disaster preparedness and recovery efforts over the last 10 years, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
“The anniversary of Hurricane Katrina serves as an opportunity to remember the valuable lessons learned from this major catastrophic event,” said Joe Woods, vice president, state government relations for PCI. “I grew up and lived along the Gulf Coast, and know what it’s like to prepare for a hurricane, but no one could have even imagined the devastation that accompanied this storm. Katrina highlighted the importance of educating the public on the purchase of flood insurance, implementing storm mitigation tactics and minimizing business disruption in the aftermath of a catastrophe.”
Insurance companies have always had disaster recovery plans, though none of them could have predicted the mayhem Katrina brought. The communication challenges presented by downed power lines and a lack of internet connections caused many businesses including insurers to re-evaluate their service response. To help meet policyholders needs immediately following an event, insurers now deploy a fully functional mobile command center that can keep services up and running with minimal disruption.
“The insurance industry pays greater attention to its response plans and they are constantly being revaluated to ensure the industry is well prepared to assist consumers,” said Woods. “The continued use of social media has been fully embraced and significant improvements to technology also allow insurers to communicate with customers, in real time, during and after a natural disaster.”
Like Katrina, it only takes one major storm to cause catastrophic damage. For consumers to be fully prepared they should have a conversation with their insurance agent to make sure they have the insurance coverage to meet their needs. As the Gulf Coast enters peak hurricane season, storms can develop quickly despite the current El Nino. PCI and its members encourage consumers to take steps now to stormproof their homes and become both financially and physically prepared for severe weather. Although you can count on the insurance industry being there in the aftermath of a storm to help policyholders get back on their feet, we can’t stress enough the importance of advance preparation.
“As we remember this horrific storm, it’s important customers know that not only have improvements been made in disaster recovery efforts in the last 10 years, but the insurance industry continues to be strong and stable and will be there in the wake of any natural disaster,” said Woods.
PCI Hurricane Preparedness Tips:
• Review your property insurance policy, especially the “declarations” page, and check whether your policy pays replacement costs, or actual cash value for a covered loss.
• Inventory your household items, and photograph or videotape them for further documentation. Keep this information and your insurance policies in a safe place.
• Keep the name, address and claims-reporting telephone number of your insurer and agent in a safe and easily accessible place.
• Protect your property by covering all windows with plywood or shutters, moving vehicles into the garage when possible and placing grills and patio furniture indoors.
• Keep all receipts for any repairs so your insurance company can reimburse you.
• Check with your insurance adjuster for referrals to professional restoration, cleaning and salvage companies if additional assistance is needed.
PCI’s Hurricane Katrina Resources:
Hurricane Katrina Info-graphic: http://bit.ly/PCIKatrina10
Hurricane Katrina Video: http://bit.ly/PCIKatrina
Hurricane Katrina 10 Years Later Blog Post: http://bit.ly/1E6aiFQ