With Hurricane Irma having wreaked havoc throughout the Caribbean and continued its destructive path through the United States this past weekend; and compounded by the threat of Hurricane Jose, local insurance representatives took the opportunity to advise residents regarding the coverage process.
Insurance Management encouraged all residents to secure their homes and businesses. Branch Manager James Carey provided tips for residents during a recent interview.
Carey emphasized that at “hurricane time” insurance companies never take on new clients.
“The insurance industry as a whole, when there is a threat of a hurricane it goes through phases of shutting down operations,” he said.
He added that when an island is under hurricane alert, new business stops and with a hurricane watch all business stops. A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified area. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds in an area.
Also, said Carey, beforehand, clients are normally contacted to ensure that their insurance is up to date before it is too late.
Some residents are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew which hit the island in October 2016. Carey revealed that about two percent of clients who filed claims from damages made by Matthew, have not yet been sorted out.
He advised residents to be serious about coverage.
“People need to secure yourselves and your families,” he said.
G. Lawrence Palmer President of Freeport Insurance Agents & Brokers Limited also spoke about hurricane coverage.
His advice was for home/business owners to review their insurance policies.
“They need to know what they are insured for. Ask questions about their deductibles and be able to get in contact with their agents. They should not underestimate the extent of damage to their property,” he said.
He pointed out that after a storm, persons tend to neglect mentioning damage that they view as insignificant. He advised the reporting of any damage. Another tip given was for those insured to get their agents’ advice when adjusters make offers.
Palmer said that “underinsuring’ is a bad habit.
“Many times because the premium is expensive in relation to the sum insured, there’s the temptation to reduce the sum insured. This puts clients at a disadvantage when their damages cost more than what their insurance covers,” he noted.
He added that the storms affect the entire insurance agency and clients and best practice is essential for all parties.