The recent tragic storms that raged across our country caused a path of destruction – disrupting the lives of many families and destroying the one safe place that we all cherish – their home. From sudden events like landslides and tornadoes to disasters like floods and wildfires that grow with force over time, Mother Nature presents threats to the safety of our homes and most importantly, the well-being of our family members.
Now is a good time to employ a risk management process so that we prepare our clients for when the worst happens, especially when it is least expected. Please consider the following:
- Begin by evaluating the potential natural disaster risks that properties and family members could encounter – both at home and away. Consider the geographic location of the properties and reference historical data to determine the potential impact.
- Plan for the safety of family members in the event of natural disaster. Whether identifying a home’s safest room or developing an evacuation plan, be sure to include special arrangements for the youngest and oldest family members. Do not forget to prepare a disaster kit for everyone, along with a family communication plan.
- Investigate risk reduction, avoidance or mitigation tactics. For example, think about the following questions: is it possible to have your client install a back-up generator in their home and a back-up sump pump in basements; what are the wildfire response service firms available in the area; do coastal properties utilize storm shutters; which is the safest route for family members to drive in event of a bad storm with flooded roadways.
- Include a recovery plan that identifies where the family could live if their home were destroyed and provides access to critical financial, legal and insurance information along with personal identification documents. Medical records and access to medications are especially important, as well as a communication plan for contacting extended family.
- Review insurance coverage and the level of protection needed to recover from a natural disaster. Standard insurance policies do not cover flood, earthquake or landslide and may limit coverage for damages caused by catastrophic wind or water. Explain to your clients that specialty policies are available, which will lessen the financial impact through appropriate insurance coverage.
Finding a silver lining in the storm clouds after Mother Nature throws her worst at us can be exceedingly difficult. After a traumatic event, we want to feel safe again. A proactive approach is our best defense to overcoming the terrible disruption caused by catastrophic weather events.
The insurance industry has developed risk management solutions to assist families in weathering the impact of Mother Nature and expedite the road to recovery – the road back to that safe place for our families. Insurance agents are valuable partners in both preparation and recovery for their clients, and Burns & Wilcox is proud to assist our brokers and agents in helping clients find the right solutions and the rainbow after the storm clouds disappear.