Preparing for Hurricane Season: Insights from Our Director of Claims

As the first week of June marks the beginning of the hurricane season, it’s important to be prepared for potential storms. Hurricane season can bring challenges, but with proper preparation and understanding of the claims process, you can navigate through it more effectively. Dionna, our Director of Claims, is here to share her expertise on post-storm recovery and offer valuable tips to help you prepare and respond to potential hurricane-related damages.

Meet the Director of Claims

Dionna Chambers has extensive experience in the insurance industry, particularly in managing claims during natural disasters. Her role involves guiding policyholders and our agent partners through the claims process, ensuring that they receive the support and resources needed to recover after a storm. With her deep understanding of the complexities involved, Dionna is dedicated to helping our customers get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

Deep Dive into the Claims Process

Filing a claim after a hurricane can be overwhelming, but knowing the steps can make the process smoother. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

Immediate Reporting: As soon as it is safe, report your claim to your insurance carrier. Quick reporting helps initiate the process faster.

Documentation: Take photos and videos of all damage and debris. The more documentation you have, the better.

Temporary Repairs: Mitigate further damage by making temporary repairs. Keep receipts for any expenses incurred as they may be reimbursable.

Detailed Records: Maintain detailed records of all communications and expenses related to the claim.

Access and Cooperation: Provide access to your property for inspections and cooperate with your insurance carrier by supplying all necessary documentation.

Behind-the-Scenes Insights

Handling hurricane-related claims is complex and presents unique challenges. The sheer volume of claims can overwhelm carriers, leading to delays. Competition for resources such as contractors and repair services can further complicate the process. Rising construction costs and increased opportunities for fraud add to the challenges. Additionally, local carriers often face the dual burden of managing their losses while assisting customers.

Bankers Insurance Group overcomes these challenges by:

Advanced preparation: Before hurricane season begins, we conduct extensive training for our adjusters and customer service teams. We also partner with a network of trusted contractors, repair services, and temporary staffing agencies to ensure we can scale up quickly when needed!

Efficient Resource Allocation: By using predictive analytics and historical data, we anticipate the potential impact of hurricanes and allocate resources accordingly. This means pre-positioning adjusters and supplies in strategic locations to respond swiftly to affected areas.

Enhanced Communication: Clear and constant communication is key! We maintain regular updates with our policyholders through multiple channels – phone, email, and text messages. This ensures that our customers are informed about the status of their claims and any necessary actions they need to take.

Fraud Protection: To combat the increased risk of fraud during catastrophes, our adjusters are trained to identify red flags and work to address any suspicious activities.

Community Engagement: We engage with local communities to coordinate relief efforts. By working together, we can ensure a more organized and efficient response to widespread damage.

Through these strategies, it ensures that we are not only prepared to handle the immediate aftermath of a hurricane but also committed to supporting our policyholders through every step of their recovery journey.

Preparation Tips for Hurricane Season

Dionna offers the following advice to help you prepare for the hurricane season:

Policy Documents: Print and store a copy of your insurance policy in a safe place.

Pre-Storm Photos: Take photos of your property a few days before the storm for comparison.

Emergency Contacts: Save the claims phone number in your contacts and write it down.

Important Records: Keep copies of important business records in a secure location.

Safety Plans: Develop and communicate a safety plan for your employees and customers.

Alternative Operations: Prepare for potential relocation and alternate communication methods.

Physical Preparations: Clean gutters, secure outdoor property, and back up electronic data.

Supply Chain: Identify alternative suppliers and consider backup power supplies for critical operations.

Consult Your Agent: If you have questions about coverage, such as spoliation, power interruption, or loss of business income, talk to your agent before the storm.

When a Hurricane or Storm is Approaching

When you know a hurricane or storm is approaching, take the following actions:

Print Your Policy: Keep a printed copy of your policy in a safe, easily accessible place.

Secure Important Records: Store important business records like receipts, inventory lists, and income records in a secure place.

Add Contacts: Save the claims phone number in your cell contacts and write it down in your important documents.

Take Pre-Storm Photos: If possible, take photos of your property a few days before the storm.

Safety First: Focus on the safety of your customers and employees by having a shelter plan in place.

Document Communications: Train your employees to document all calls from your carrier, agent, and contractors.

Alternate Communication: Implement alternate ways for your customers to reach you if you have to relocate.

Relocation Plan: Prepare for the possibility of moving to an alternate location.

Back Up Data: Ensure all electronic data is backed up before the storm.

Backup Power: Consider installing backup power supplies for critical operations.

Alternative Suppliers: Identify alternative suppliers in case your usual suppliers are also affected.

Physical Preparations: Clean gutters and drains, seal doors and windows, invest in shatter-proof glass, trim nearby trees, secure outdoor property, and move important documents and property away from doors and windows.

Electronic Funds Transfer: Be prepared for the possibility of electronic funds transfer and wire transfers for claim payments.

If You Experience a Loss

If you experience a loss due to a hurricane, follow these steps:

Report the Claim: Report your claim as soon as possible.

Mitigate Damages: Make temporary repairs and secure your property. Keep a detailed record of expenses incurred.

Document Damages: Take photos and videos of damage and debris. More documentation is better.

Provide Access: Work with your carrier to provide all necessary documentation and access to your property.

Track Communications: Ensure all employees keep track of communications from agents, carriers, and contractors.

Reliable Contractors: Identify and contact reliable, licensed, and insured contractors to help with repairs.

Data Recovery: Recover and back up data if necessary.

Proper Disposal: Determine proper disposal procedures and retain damaged property until inspected by your insurance carrier. Your carrier may require you to turn over damaged equipment to them.

Stay Safe and Prepared

Being prepared for hurricane season can significantly reduce the stress and impact of a storm. By following the advice of our Director of Claims, Dionna, and understanding the claims process, you can ensure a quicker recovery. For more information and resources, visit our Storm Center webpage.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Visit our Hurricane Readiness Kit and Storm Center to learn how to file a claim and prepare for the upcoming hurricane season. Stay safe and be prepared!