Important information regarding Hurricane Safety
The 2023 Atlantic Hurricane season kicks off on June 1st and runs through November 30th. You can access relevant resources and information on how you can prepare for an impending storm below. We encourage all colleagues, clients, and friends to begin making plans in the event of a weather impact in their area.
Hurricane Season Resources & Information:
Tips on what to do before a storm hits:
- Take pictures of your property and building. It will make the claims process smoother in the event your business sustains damage.
- Clean out roof drains, floor drains and catch basins and check drainage pumps.
- If blueprints of building are available, ensure their safety.
- Anchor and fill above-ground tanks with water or product to keep them in place during the storm.
- Fill the fuel tanks on your emergency generator and fire pumps. Ensure automobiles have full fuel tanks.
- Secure important tax, financial and inventory documents that may be needed to substantiate losses or are critical to you or your business.
- Sandbag building doors. Most Florida Counties have locations that provide free sandbags and sand as a service. Please be aware that most of these sites are self-serve meaning you have to fill the bags! Please refer to your county websites for specific site information.
- Prepare backup generators and ensure they are on with the air running regardless of damage to the building as this will minimize mold occurrence in the building.
- Move all electric/computer equipment away from windows and cover with a tarp.
- Secure/remove all loose items located on roof tops (i.e. satellite dishes, AC units, etc.).
- Have supplies for employees who you will need to work after the storm (i.e… Water, food, uniforms…).
- Obtain your insurance company’s claim reporting information and your policy numbers.
Important Links & Resources
Tips for after the storm
Assignment of Benefits (AOB) Warning
Often misused, signing an AOB can lead to harmful consequences for the homeowner.
Assignment of Benefits (AOB) is an agreement that, once signed, transfers the insurance claims rights or benefits of the policy to a third party. An AOB gives the third party authority to file a claim, make repair decisions and collect insurance payments without the involvement of the homeowner. AOBs are commonly used in homeowners’ insurance claims by water remediation companies and contractors. Be aware that by signing an AOB, you are transferring your insurance rights to the contractor and allowing them to collect money paid out from your insurance company on your behalf. We have seen contractors that file fraudulent claims, perform shoddy repair work that is not up to code, or not perform the work at all. Always read the contract with a service provider to ensure it does not include AOB language.
How to Avoid Fraud After a Catastrophe
- Check with insurer or your insurance advisor, for credible remediation companies, contractors, or vendors.
- Beware of high-pressure sales people. Don’t be rushed into signing a contract. Take the time to obtain written estimates from more than one vendor.
- Know who you are dealing with. Obtain references, check with the Better Business Bureau, review licenses, and ensure the vendor you select is properly insured. Be wary of anyone who approaches you unsolicited or says they can perform your repairs at a discount with leftover supplies from another job.
- Get at least 3 written, itemized estimates or bids on repairs.
- Don’t make large down payments. Although down payments are customary, some unethical vendors disappear after receiving the down payment or performing limited work.
- Check for proof of insurance and verify with their insurer that their policy is current.
- Check to see if the contractor is bonded and verify with the bonding agency.
- Do not sign a certificate of completion or make final payment until you are satisfied with the work performed.
We hope it doesn’t occur, but in the event that you believe someone is committing a disaster fraud scheme or if you fall victim to one, you should contact the NCDF (National Center for Disaster Fraud) immediately. The NCDF task force was created post-Hurricane Katrina and is made up of over 20 federal agencies, U.S. attorneys, and law enforcement officers, who serve as advocates for those affected by fraud.
Call the Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or visit online at: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/after-storms-watch-out-scams