Well, it’s that time of year; spring is just about here and you know what’s next? The Atlantic hurricane season, it will officially begin on June 1. Currently, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are predicting a mild hurricane season – about the same as last year. It is still expected to bring somewhere in the area of 4-8 hurricanes. Now is a good time to remind your clients about flood insurance, whether it be for a private homeowners or business, to cover losses arising from storm surge and update your catastrophe plans before the first storm hits.

As you know hurricanes are classified by their wind speeds, in order for a hurricane to be classified in one the categories it must sustain the wind speeds listed below:

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

  • Tropical Storm Winds 39-73 mph
  • Category 1 Hurricane — winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt) No real damage to buildings. Damage to unanchored mobile homes. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. Also, some coastal flooding and minor pier damage. – Examples: Irene 1999 and Allison 1995
  • Category 2 Hurricane — winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt) Some damage to building roofs, doors and windows. Considerable damage to mobile homes. Flooding damages piers and small craft in unprotected moorings may break their moorings. Some trees blown down. – Examples: Bonnie 1998, Georges(FL & LA) 1998 and Gloria 1985
  • Category 3 Hurricane — winds 111-130 mph (96-113 kt) Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings. Large trees blown down. Mobile homes and poorly built signs destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain may be flooded well inland. – Examples: Katrina 2005, Keith 2000, Fran 1996, Opal 1995,
  • Category 4 Hurricane — winds 131-155 mph (114-135 kt) More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach areas. Terrain may be flooded well inland. – Examples: Hugo 1989 and Donna 1960
  • Category 5 Hurricane — winds 156 mph and up (135+ kt) Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Flooding causes major damage to lower floors of all structures near the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required. – Examples: Andrew(FL) 1992, Camille 1969 and Labor Day 1935

The National Hurricane Center has created tools that can assist you :

Family Disaster Plan, http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/prepare/family_plan.shtml

Agents are no exception

As one PIA member stated in the aftermath of SANDY, “If you DON’T have a plan … well (as the saying goes), you are planning to fail—both yourself and your clients. Don’t lose your livelihood for failing to plan.”

Loss of power, inoperable computer systems, loss of data or uninhabitable office space. Are you prepared if any of these events occur? Is your office staff aware of your disaster contingency plan?

Don’t be caught, do as the Boy Scouts say and “Be Prepared”!