The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts an above-average hurricane season for 2022. Given the uncertain economic conditions and unpredictable weather, it’s important for agents to make sure their clients are prepared for the hurricane season. Being prepared can provide peace of mind and put them at ease.
You may want to review policy details with your client so they’re aware of their coverage. Now may be the ideal time to review your client’s surplus lines and commercial lines insurance policy details and coverage limits – before a storm is on the way and it’s too late to change limits. However, the main goal is to encourage clients to stay safe and protected during the storm.
If clients haven’t been through a hurricane, it can be incredibly stressful. Even for natives who have lived through their fair share of extreme weather, hurricanes should always be taken seriously. At any point, a storm can change paths or strengthen, so it’s wise to always prepare for the worst and hope for the best during hurricane season (June 1 – November 30).
We’ve got some tips and suggestions to pass along to your clients to keep themselves, their homes, and their businesses safe during hurricane season 2022.
- Advise your clients to develop an emergency preparation plan. The plan should include household communication and evacuation procedures and routes. It’s also wise to make arrangements for temporary housing if need be. If they have pets, they should explore pet-friendly hotel options or an out-of-town friend willing to take in the pets.
- Provide them with a list of known shelter locations for hurricanes. If they have special needs or pets, you’ll want to help them locate these types of shelters as well. In a frenzy, this information can be hard to find – especially if the electricity goes out and your clients can’t access the internet.
- Suggest clients assemble an emergency kit. This preparedness kit should include nonperishable foods, first aid supplies, medications, clothing, a flashlight, candles, batteries, and other supplies the family may need. Recommend stocking up on water in case there is a boil water alert.
- Encourage clients to write down emergency phone numbers and keep them on the refrigerator. They should also program numbers into their phones as well.
- Remind clients to keep insurance policy information and other important documents in a safe, easily accessible location. It’s a good idea for clients to store policy details and company contact information in a watertight container or another secure location outside the home.
- Encourage clients to take and keep photos of the policy number and other important information on their phones.
- Recommend steps clients can take to protect their homes. Some CDC recommendations include moving valuables up to higher levels off the floor, clearing the yard, cleaning the drains and gutters, covering windows, etc.
- Tell clients to prepare to turn off their power. If they see flooding, downed power lines, or need to leave the home, they should switch the power off at the circuit breaker.
- Have them check their carbon monoxide detector’s battery. to prevent CO poisoning.
- Suggest filling up water bottles and the bathtub with water in case the water supply is impacted or limited.
Here are some additional things you want to pass along to your clients to help them prepare for hurricane season:
Know the difference between a hurricane “watch” and “warning.” – A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are possible in a stated area. Hurricane conditions are sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or higher. A hurricane warning means hurricane-force winds are expected in a stated area. Encourage clients to check out the National Weather Service’s Hurricane Center.
Get the car ready before the storm hits by filling up the gas tank, moving it into a garage or covered parking, and keeping an emergency kit in the car.
Be ready to evacuate or stay at home.
Always listen to authorities regarding evacuation or stay-at-home orders.
If a hurricane is coming, clients may hear they need to evacuate their homes, especially if they live on barrier islands. No matter how sturdy or well-built their home, it may be unsafe during a severe hurricane.
If your client needs to evacuate, remind them to grab their emergency supply kit and essentials, such as a cell phone, charger, medication, identification, and cash.
Before evacuating the home, clients should:
- Unplug all appliances.
- Shut off utilities (gas, electric, and water).
- Follow the route that emergency workers recommend, even if there is traffic. It’s not uncommon for roads to be blocked off when a storm is approaching.
- Never drive through flooded areas. Vehicles can be swept away or may stall in just 6 inches of moving water.
- Contact your local emergency management office if help is needed in locating a shelter.
When staying home is advised, your client should:
- Keep your emergency supply kit in an easily accessible location.
- Listen to the weather channel or news for updates.
- Stay inside, even if it appears calm outside.
- Wait until you hear or see an official message that the hurricane is over before leaving the home.
- Stay away from windows or go inside a closet.
If you have any questions about what coverage your client needs for a hurricane season, we’re happy to help. We promise that no request is too strange, and we’ll do everything we can to craft a policy tailored to your client needs.