By Aaron Levine
Where were you on October 29, 2012? I am sure most people living in the northeast can give a precise answer to that question and can respond with vivid details. We all have a story!
My story is not one of horror, but of reflection on what I did and what I can do better next time. Truth be told, I hope that we do not have a next time, but if we do, I want to be prepared and in a position to help my family, friends and neighbors.
As a professional insurance agent, I have a duty to take care of my clients and customers if they ever need help with their insurance from any type of loss. The loss does not have to be from a natural disaster, although that is what we are reflecting on. A loss can happen from many other sources, such as fire, tornado, earthquake or even an accident. When a client or a friend has a loss, I hope that they have certain documents in order, to best help the adjuster and get settlements as quickly as possible.
There are certain things that individuals and business owners can do in order to make sure that they are ready for an unpredictable disaster. Being ready and having a plan is the most important thing you can do and then we can hope that it never has to be put into effect.
As agents, we have reflected on our procedures and what we could have done better and will continue to refine those skills, because there is nothing more important to us than our customers and their families. Yes, we are in the business to write claim checks, but we wish we wouldn’t have to. FEMA has very comprehensive information regarding natural disaster and it should be mandatory for everyone to do their part to mitigate risk and avoid losses.
We have seen some businesses close and others never re-open. It is sad that people lost everything, because they did not have proper insurance protection from flooding or wind storm. We understand that the FEMA National Flood Insurance policy does not cover full replacement cost or earth movement, but the coverage that it does afford is better than no coverage at all. The NFIP has undergone some major changes and will continue to do so through 2014 when full actuarial rates will come into play. This will mean higher premiums, but hopefully the system won’t be totally broke at that point.
Regardless of the insurance vehicle and the frustrations revolving around it, the importance is what we can all do differently the next time a disaster is imminent.
FEMA resources, such as READY.gov have disaster ready plans for homeowners and business owners. Do you have an inventory of your belongings? Do you have an emergency generator? Do you have a place to move items in flood danger? Do you have an emergency kit ready incase the power is out for days? What about your neighbors, are they ready? Do you have their evacuation plan?
These little things can make a huge difference. I understand that they are not going to rebuild your house, but it can keep you safe.
Now that the one year anniversary is upon us, I hope that we are all a little smarter and more prepared for this in the future.
The moral of the story is, to be ready and be safe.
Aaron Levine is with the
LG Insurance Group,
a full service boutique Insurance agency located in Long Branch. For more infomation visit www.alevinegroup.com