Hurricane Preparedness - Take Steps Now to Make the Aftermath Easier

Geostationary image of 2017's Hurricane Irma (11L)

Friends and colleagues,

We hope you are tracking Irma, and that you have a plan in place to remain safe throughout the storm.  Once those plans are made, there are some things you can do to smooth the recovery process:

1. Take reasonable steps to secure your property and personal belongings.  Put shutters up if you have them.  If you can, bring inside anything that is not secured to your property or the ground.

2. Take pictures of your property and upload these to a secure location on the cloud.  Don't forget to include vehicles, valuable personal belongings, and other structures and landscaping in and around your property.  Include the roof if possible.

3.  Locate copies of your insurance policies for your property and vehicles, including those covering wind, flood, and rain, and keep these in a secure and dry location.  If you have full copies, find the section dealing with your duties in case of loss or damage and take note so you know what you must do following the storm.  Also locate and note language about to when you must notify your insurance company and to whom you must provide notice in the event you need to make a claim. If you don't have complete copies of your policies, locate the contact information (including email) for your insurance broker and confirm this information with them prior to the storm if possible.

4.  Safeguarding the income from your business in the event of damage or closure by the authorities should not be overlooked.  Make sure you know where to find business interruption, contingent business interruption, and civil authority coverage in your commercial policies.  Work with your accounting staff to secure recent income statements and electronic payment records from customers, going back as many months are possible.  Also discuss plans to use this information to formulate income projections after the storm if your business shuts down or loses operational capacity.

And always listen to the advice of local and state authorities.  Property can always be replaced.  But your life and the people you love cannot.

Stay safe,

Your friends at Bell, Davis & Pitt

About the Authors

Alan M. Ruley

Alan Ruley is a seasoned civil trial and appellate lawyer. He represents clients in a wide variety of disputes in federal and state court, focusing primarily on business litigation, intellectual property, insurance, banking and employment.
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Allison Buckner Parker

Allison Parker concentrates her practice in the area of commercial litigation with a focus on insurance coverage litigation for corporate policyholders.
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