FOR RELEASE ON RECEIPT
August 31, 2012
At Midpoint of Hurricane Season, PCI Urges
CHICAGO—The landfall of Hurricane Isaac coincides with the
traditional peak time for hurricanes, and the Property Casualty Insurers
Association of America (PCI) urges coastal residents of the Gulf and Atlantic
to be prepared for other storms in the coming weeks.
“It is crucial for coastal homeowners and business owners to be vigilant, not
just this week, but over the next few weeks as well,” said Chris Hackett, PCI’s
director of personal lines policy. “Historically, many of the deadliest and
most costly hurricanes have hit at this time of year, including Katrina,
Andrew, Charley, Ivan and Hugo, among others. We urge residents along the
Atlantic and Gulf coasts to be prepared and alert, and ready to take steps
quickly to safeguard their lives, their families and their property.”
Noting that September is usually a peak month for
hurricanes, PCI recommends that homeowners, businesses and public policymakers
take the necessary steps to ensure that everyone is prepared for the
potentially devastating effects of a major storm. There have already been 10
named Atlantic storms this season. An earlier storm, Tropical Storm Debby,
caused an estimated $105 million in insured property losses in Florida in June.
There are no estimates yet on the damages from Hurricane Isaac.
Homeowners can take simple steps to protect their property
and assets from becoming a casualty of a storm. PCI has developed the
following tips that will help consumers reduce exposure to losses and make
certain that they have adequate insurance coverage to recover from the economic
damage a catastrophic event.
1. Review your insurance policy to avoid any
surprises. Review your property insurance policy, especially the
“declarations” page, which summarizes the coverage you have purchased. The
standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover all losses. Based on
your circumstances you may need to purchase endorsements or additional
policies. Depending upon where you live, a homeowner may need to have the
standard homeowners policy, a personal-articles policy, a flood policy, an
excess flood coverage and a wind and hail policy to ensure your property is
2. Talk with your agent/insurer to make sure you have
the right policies with adequate limits. Your agent or insurance
company can assist you in determining the type of policies you should have and
the correct limits of coverage. Check whether your policy pays replacement
cost, or actual cash value for a covered loss. Actual cash value takes
depreciation into account. As a result, the compensation you receive may be
much lower than the retail price of a new item. The cost of rebuilding your
dwelling with materials of like kind and quality may differ from the current
market value of your home. In some areas, new building codes will
increase the cost of rebuilding. These factors should be considered in the
decision regarding how much insurance to buy. If you have increased the value
of your property, be sure to increase the protection for your property.
3. Get flood insurance. It is a good idea
for people to buy flood insurance. Inland flooding can occur as far as 500
miles from the site of a hurricane. Flooding is not covered in standard
homeowners insurance policies. It may be purchased through insurance
agents from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is administered
by the Federal Emergency Management Administration. Homeowners should also be
aware that contents or additional living expenses coverage is not automatically
included. There is also a 30-day waiting period to get flood insurance, so
it is important to act before floodwaters start to rise.
4. Make sure you know the amount of your deductible. The
deductible is the amount of loss that the homeowner must pay. It may be
based on the value of your home or a fixed dollar amount. In many
hurricane-prone areas insurance deductibles may range from one to five percent
of your home’s value. The higher the deductible, the lower your premium
5. Purchase insurance well in advance of a storm. Most
insurers will not offer insurance after a hurricane watch or warning has been
issued. Generally this moratorium on new coverage will be in effect for 48
hours after the watch or warning has been canceled. The NFIP also has a 30-day
waiting period before the policy is effective.
6. Inventory household items now to speed up claims
processing after the storm. Inventory your household items, and
photograph or videotape them for further documentation. Keep this information
and your insurance policies in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box.
7. Store important documents where they will stay safe
and dry. Keep the name, address and claims-reporting telephone
number of your insurer and agent in a safe and easily accessible place.
Property owners should keep a copy of their insurance policies and other
important papers with them in a watertight package.
8. Develop an emergency plan before the emergency. Every
family should have an emergency plan. Emergency planners suggest that you
discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family and consider your
home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Determine escape routes
from your home and establish a meeting place. Stock non-perishable emergency
supplies and a disaster supply kit with enough food and water for three to
seven days. When severe weather is approaching your area, listen carefully to
local authorities and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself, your
family, and your property. If you are given an order to evacuate because of
threatening weather conditions, do so. Contact a friend or family member and
let them know where you can be reached. Remember to shut off your water and to
lock up your home.
9. Perform routine home maintenance now to avoid major
repairs later. Mitigation is a critical component in reducing the
amount of damage that may occur when a hurricane or tropical storm makes
landfall. Adding storm shutters and other retrofitting can help protect a
home from strong winds. In addition, a well maintained home will help ensure
that roofing, windows and doors are secure. Structural problems and
weaknesses can also be identified and corrected before major damage occurs.
10. Don’t make your house a target for debris. Protect
your property by covering all windows with plywood or shutters, moving vehicles
into the garage when possible and placing grills and patio furniture
indoors. Make sure watercrafts are stored in a secure area, like a garage
or covered boat dock. A typical homeowner’s policy will cover property damage
in limited instances for small watercraft, and separate boat policies will
provide broader, more extensive property and liability protection for larger,
faster boats, yachts and jet skis.
PCI is composed of more than 1,000 member
companies, representing the broadest cross-section of insurers of any national
trade association. PCI members write over $180 billion in annual premium, 39.2
percent of the nation’s property casualty insurance. Member companies write
45.5 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 32.0 percent of the
homeowners market, 37.3 percent of the commercial property and liability
market, and 40.6 percent of the private workers compensation market.