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Risk in Context

Three Steps to Take as Hurricane Joaquin Threatens East Coast

Posted by Robert W. O’Brien October 01, 2015

Already battering the Bahamas, Hurricane Joaquin could threaten parts of the US East Coast in coming days, raising a red flag for communities and businesses. Recent rainy weather, the added risk of storm surge, and potentially heavy rainfall on saturated ground raises the stakes for businesses. Organizations need to be ready to take risk-mitigation steps and be prepared to file timely insurance claims should damage occur.

Path Similar to Superstorm Sandy's?

The slow-moving, but quickly strengthening and dangerous Category 4 hurricane is expected to move northward from the Bahamas, roughly paralleling the east coast of the US. Some models indicate that the storm may make landfall along the mid-Atlantic coast, the New England coast, or shift out to sea.

Joaquin’s path and timing are similar to Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Lessons learned from Sandy and other storms — including 2005’s Hurricane Katrina — remind us that storms can make dramatic and potentially catastrophic turns, severely impacting operations and causing extensive financial harm, either directly or through damage to your supply chain or customers.

Be Prepared for Anything

With Joaquin’s ultimate path and strength still unclear, US businesses should take steps now to prepare, including:

  1. Review your insurance coverage and claims recovery plans.
  2. Ensure your business continuity, emergency response, and crisis management plans are up-to-date and ready to be activated.
  3. Run through your hurricane preparedness and response checklist, which can help you establish a clear and actionable plan before a hurricane strikes.

In the event that Joaquin causes damage:

  • Call your broker. Your insurance advisor can support your business recovery, especially in light of any service interruption issues or property damage.
  • Carefully track and document losses, including for supply chain disruptions. This will assist in the accurate measurement and presentation of claims.
  • Account for affected colleagues. Ensure that human resources policies for dealing with temporary absences are well-understood at all levels, that roles and responsibilities are covered by others as needed, and that disaster-relief and humanitarian assistance plans are activated.

Early steps and a proactive response can help you minimize damage to people and property and enable you to recover as quickly as possible.

Related to:  Marsh Risk Consulting

Robert W. O’Brien

Robert O’Brien, managing director of Marsh USA, Inc. is a senior property claims officer of Marsh’s National Property Claims practice.