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Risk in Context

4 Ways to Prepare as Hurricane Season Begins

Posted by Duncan Ellis June 01, 2017

Forecasters at the Colorado State University anticipate approximately average activity level in 2017’s hurricane season, which begins June 1. Meanwhile, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects slightly above average activity. But it only takes one hurricane or tropical storm to cause significant harm to your organization.

Like any potential crisis, the key to preparing for a hurricane or tropical storm is understanding the potential risks and impacts to your organization coupled with planning, training, and practicing. Here are four topics to focus on as your organization gets ready for this season.

  1. Understand Your Insurance Coverage
    Hurricanes can be complex, bringing extensive rain, wind, and flooding. Every storm will cause its own unique damage and bring with it questions around property policy coverage. Before a storm arrives, make sure you understand key definitions, sublimits for flooding and other coverage areas, and other terms in your policy. And establish a framework and protocols for filing a claim after the storm passes.

  2. Know Your Property
    From land records at city hall to receipts for improvements made over the years and any visual documentation, verifying the condition of your property before a storm is critical to proper indemnification. To that end, a number of visual intelligence tools are now available for risk managers. Aerial imagery from satellites, drones, and helicopters can give you, underwriters, and adjusters a more complete picture of the value of your property and any risks to it that might not easily be seen. Keep in mind that the use of drones and aerial technologies on your property could pose additional risks — so tread carefully and call in outside experts as needed.

  3. Review Your Supply Chain
    In addition to direct damage, a storm could affect your suppliers or critical infrastructure, including roads, airports, railways, and seaports. It’s important to know the specific locations of your suppliers — and their suppliers — so you can better ensure business continuity. Before a storm hits, you should think about alternate suppliers and shipping methods that can prevent or limit disruptions to your supply chain.

  4. Help Your People
    If your business is affected by a storm, it’s almost certain that your employees and their families will be, too. Before a storm hits, you should focus on helping employees prepare, including getting to safety. During and after a storm, stay connected with them and be ready to support with humanitarian assistance.

While you can’t control the weather, you can manage your risk preparedness, resilience, and post-event response. Use these guidelines to help your organization and people be safe and quickly return to normal business operations.

Duncan Ellis

Duncan is a managing director resident in the New York office and is the leader of Marsh’s US Property Practice.