How to Recover from Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Fiona

Across the Caribbean, in Florida and on the east coast of Atlantic Canada, communities are being devastated by a recent and continuing wave of mid-season hurricanes.

After making landfall in West Florida yesterday as a Category 4 hurricane, Hurricane Ian has carved a path of destruction across the state and will track into the Carolinas. According to the very first reports as the disaster rages, President Biden said on Thursday“This could be the deadliest storm in Florida history. The numbers we have are still unclear, but we are hearing early reports of what could be a significant loss of life. Millions of Floridians have no power and officials on the ground are reporting “historic” amounts of damage from the storm.Thursday afternoon, Ian also appeared to be regaining strength. weaken into a tropical storm over central Florida, winds from the storm strengthened to more than 70 miles per hour and it was expected to return to hurricane strength.

Ian closely follows the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Fiona. In the Caribbean, 20% of Puerto Rican residents are still without electricity after Hurricane Fiona, and the island took another punch from Hurricane Ian when it was a Category 4 storm. To the north, Post-Tropical Storm Fiona caused damage disasters in parts of eastern Canada last week, causing devastating property damage and leaving hundreds of thousands of Canadians without power. Although it’s too early for full estimates, ratings agency DBRS Morningstar predicted insured losses could be between $300 million and $700 million. According to Patrick Douville, Vice President of Insurance at DBRS, “Fiona will probably be one of the biggest catastrophic events in the history of Atlantic Canada.

Once it is possible to do this safely, risk managers will have a tremendous job to do to help their organizations and communities recover.

“There are many ways to prepare to work with insurers and focus on recovering from losses,” said Jill Dalton, managing director of the Property Risk Consulting group at Aon. “First, get the expert to the site as soon as possible. In the meantime, take photos of the damage and do whatever you can to mitigate further damage. It is also important for a company to establish a single point of contact to speak with the adjuster, claims broker and others who will be handling the claim on site. Next, establish a communication cadence and schedule to notify stakeholders like the C-suite. For example, this could be twice a day next week, once a day the following week, and then once a week. »

Dalton advised: “Companies should take additional steps, including engaging a professional claims preparation company to help document the claim, preparing a daily schedule of impact and changes to operational activities, requesting a cash advance and set up a cost tracking code and/or general ledger account to record expenses related to the incident. If it is a contingent loss, which means that operations are interrupted due to physical damage to a customer or supplier, ask that customer or supplier to send you documentation of their physical damage and request him to communicate with you as much as possible.

In the July/August cover story of Risk Management Magazine, “Hurricane Claims: Key Tips for Minimizing Losses and Maximizing Recovery”,lawyers Andrea DeField and Alice Weeks provided advice on what risk and insurance professionals should do before, during and after hurricanes, including hurricane preparedness and response checklists.

For organizations impacted by this season’s storms, the following post-storm tips can help risk professionals manage the disaster recovery and claims management process:

Checklist after the storm

  1. Gather insurance policies and related insurance records. If your policy has been destroyed or lost, contact your insurance company or agent/broker to request a copy.

  2. Contact other business partners who may have copies of your insurance policies and records, such as lawyers and accountants.

  3. Immediately notify your broker and insurer in writing. The notice must provide the following basic information:

    • Name and address of the insured

    • Place of loss

    • Date and time of loss

    • Contact name, telephone and fax number

    • Brief description of the loss

  4. Obtain copies of police or fire reports from your local police or fire department, if available. If individuals have caused damage to premises or stolen anything as a result of the disaster, obtain a separate police report of the damage or loss or request that additional information be added to the initial report.

  5. Secure vital ledgers and records. Make sure your accounting department opens a separate general ledger for hurricane-related expenses.

  6. Gather photos or videos as evidence of damage. Ensure these are taken before any mitigation is implemented so that they accurately capture consequences and losses.

  7. If possible, take steps to mitigate any further damage after the storm has passed.

  8. If you haven’t already, hire a forensic accountant to begin preparing your business income and additional expense loss calculations.

  9. Prepare proof of loss. A proof of loss provides details identifying the destroyed or damaged property and documents the amount of loss suffered. Generally, any information substantiating the claim can be part of your proof of claim, including photos, videos, receipts and records. Check with your insurer for the specific information required as some companies may ask you for a detailed list of documents or require you to complete a specific proof of claim form.

  10. Submit proof of loss, photos and reports to your insurer. Be sure to check the time limits on submitting proof of loss and request an extension, if necessary.

  11. Participate in the insurance company’s survey. Property policies generally allow the insurer to conduct a reasonable investigation into the claim and require the co-operation of the insured. This may be in a provision called “Obligations in the Event of a Claim” which allows the insurer to interview policyholder claimants in a process known as “examination under oath”. The policy may also require the insured to expose the property, take reasonable steps to protect it, and generally cooperate with the insurer’s investigation. However, the insurer’s requests for information should generally be considered reasonable. A policyholder’s failure to reasonably cooperate could be used by the insurer as a defense to coverage.

Risk Management Magazine and Risk Management Monitor. Copyright 2022 Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 272

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