While most people don’t pay close attention to the hurricane forecasts each year, in my business, one would be foolish not to. Yes, the forecasts for the past few years have suggested that the Atlantic hurricane seasons would be very active. And yes, these reports have turned out to be incorrect. So why do I take the time to check these predictions? The answer is simple, it helps me advise clients on the risks associated with hurricanes and helps me to motivate people to check their coverage.
Dr. William Gray, head of Colorado State University’s well known Tropical Meteorology Project, recently announced that the team would be revising its predictions for 2010. While he did not comment on the exact number of storms that would be predicted for the year, he offered a hint: "The numbers are going to go up quite high….this looks like a hell of a year."
Far be it for me to speculate on the number of hurricanes that may form, but from his comments, it appears that the 8 hurricanes (4 major) predicted in the Project’s April Forecast Schedule is out the window. When considering that a “major hurricane” has winds in excess of 111 miles per hour, the thought of a large number of such storms should concern everyone in coastal areas.
It has been almost five years since Hurricane Wilma severely damaged Florida, and has been even longer since Hurricanes Frances, Jeanne, and Charley. While in the grand scheme of things five years is only a brief moment, many in this part of the country have become complacent. As I stated in a previous post, Recent Earthquake Activity Causes Many to Wonder About Coverage, “[i]t is important for associations to have a good relationship with their insurance agent so that an open and frequent dialogue occurs.” Unfortunately, many times during these “off years” this dialogue breaks down. Policies are left unchecked, and new boards members are not familiar with insurance issues.
With Hurricane season just around the corner, now is the time to ensure that you have the appropriate coverage and that you understand what to do in case of a loss. This will help make sure you are fully protected in the event a hurricane damages your property, and prepare you for what to do in such an event.
I want to help begin this process with you. Over the next few weeks I will be writing about some of the common mistakes associations make in purchasing coverage and in complying with post-loss duties. While I certainly could not cover every issue, I hope this will provide a general overview of what you can do to protect yourself and your association.