Fay was just the beginning
Published: Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 5:20 p.m.
We are all grateful that Florida dodged a bullet when Tropical Storm Fay did not pick up more speed as it made landfall last week. Yet, Fay still left her mark on the state and citizens, leaving flood water, wind damage and power outages in her path. Floridians and their insurers need to take this time to evaluate if they were prepared for the Sunshine State’s first storm since 2005.
While we are only halfway through the 2008 hurricane season and one storm into the peak months, Fay could signal the beginning of an active year in the tropics. As many Floridians are thankful that Tropical Storm Fay has passed, insurers are devoted to helping those families who sustained property damages.
Before a storm is being tracked and the caution cone is placed on the Sunshine State, Floridians should access their insurance coverage, ready all of their important papers, map out their family’s evacuation plan, and prepare their hurricane kit with batteries, storm radios and other essential items. It is important to remember that not all policies include flood damage, and homeowners’ insurance policies cannot be changed once a named storm is announced.
Hurricane season is a difficult and stressful time for all Floridians, as uncertainty plagues the state for six months. The rising cost of property insurance coverage has made this even more burdensome for homeowners. Taking measures to strengthen homes and better prepare for storms through smart mitigation steps not only protects families, it can also reduce the costs associated with property insurance and post-storm recovery.
PCI urges Floridians to remain vigilant of the weather, as the hurricane season lasts until Nov. 30 and to utilize the "Storm Safety: 6 Steps in 6 Weeks" material found online at www.pciaa.net. The site provides important hurricane season information for consumers, including insurance company claims information. In addition, brochures are provided that guide homeowners through helpful home safety tips and a guide to better understanding insurance policies.
The landfall of Tropical Storm Fay also reminds us of the importance of protecting Floridians from flood damage. The National Flood Insurance Program offers vital protection to policyholders nationwide, and it is critically important to Americans and the U.S. economy. The NFIP is currently set to expire on Sept. 30 if Congress does not reauthorize the program, leaving millions of Americans vulnerable, without flood coverage. Congress must reauthorize the program now to avoid costly consequences.
David A. Sampson is president and CEO of Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.