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Florida insurers encourage storm preparation for Hurricane Irma

By Staff | Sep 5, 2017

With Gov. Rick Scott declaring a state of emergency for all 67 Florida counties in preparation for Hurricane Irma, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America urges all Floridians to take steps now to prepare.

“PCI encourages individuals and families who are threatened by Hurricane Irma to act now and get prepared,” said Logan McFaddin, PCI’s Florida regional manager, in a prepared statement. “While the storm’s path is currently uncertain, it has great potential to hit Florida head-on, and there are several things Floridians can do now to protect their homes and businesses, and ensure they can recover as quickly as possible from any losses. This includes documenting your property and possessions ahead of a storm, so you have an accurate illustration of any damage that needs to be reported to your insurance company or agent.”

PCI recommends taking the following precautions:

* Review your property insurance policy, especially the “declarations” page, and check whether your policy pays replacement costs, or actual cash value for a covered loss.

* Inventory your household items, and photograph or videotape them for further documentation. Keep this information and your insurance policies in a safe place.

* Keep the name, address and claims-reporting telephone number of your insurer and agent in a safe and easily accessible place.

* 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.

* Keep all receipts for any repairs so your insurance company can reimburse you.

* Check with your insurance adjuster for referrals to professional restoration, cleaning and salvage companies if additional assistance is needed.

* Make sure watercraft 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 boat, yachts, and persoal watercraft. Additional information can be found on PCI’s Hurricane Headquarters page.

“Just as we saw with Hurricane Harvey that recently hit Texas and Louisiana, Hurricane Irma could bring major flooding to the Sunshine State,” said McFaddin. “This is a good reminder to check with your insurer to see if you have flood coverage, as many Floridians do not realize standard homeowners policies do not cover flood damage.”

“Should Floridians incur any damage, PCI encourages Floridians to notify their insurer immediately. Do not allow a contractor or public adjuster that may stop by your home or business to provide you with their immediate services, saying that you can get a quick repair if you sign over your insurance benefits to them. While it may seem like they’re trying to help, we’ve seen more and more unscrupulous third-parties providing policyholders with inaccurate information,” concluded McFaddin.

Florida has recently been plagued by assignment of benefit (AOB) abuse. In fact, Florida has seen a 90,000 percent increase in Florida AOB lawsuits since 2000. As a member of the Consumers Protection Coalition, PCI joins a broad-array of business groups and individuals warning Floridians to watch out for these bad actors looking to prey on home and auto owners during a time of need. For more information on AOB abuse, please visit www.fightfraud.today.

For information on storm readiness, please refer to:

PCI Hurricane Headquarters: PCI’s Hurricane Headquarters page

PCI Online Magazine: http://bit.ly/HurricanePrep2017

PCI 2017 Have A Plan Insurance Checklist: http://bit.ly/HurricaneChecklist17

PCI 2017 Hurricane Fact Sheet: http://bit.ly/HurricaneFacts17

PCI is composed of nearly 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write more than $183 billion in annual premium, 35 percent of the nation’s property casualty insurance. Member companies write 42 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 27 percent of the homeowners market, 32 percent of the commercial property and liability market and 34 percent of the private workers compensation market.