MIAMI—Hurricane Joaquin could hit the east coast of the United States this weekend after closing in on the Bahamas this morning. If you haven’t prepared for a hurricane, now is the time.
As I wrote yesterday, it’s been a decade since a major hurricane hit the United States. That may be giving property owners a sense of false security about their vulnerability and a lack of urgency in taking the proper precautions.
GlobeSt.com caught up with Ryan Cassidy, senior director of Franklin Street in South Florida to get more insight on how property owners should prepare for minimal damage. You can still read part one, featuring his colleague Greg Matus: With Hurricane Coming, What Should Owners Do?
GlobeSt.com: What should property owners do so that they’re back in operation once the storm passes?
Cassidy: Make sure that they have first-response contracts that put them first in line to for cleanup and repairs. They pay a little bit extra, but it’s worth it to have water damage treated, roofs repaired and other restoration work done as soon as possible.
GlobeSt.com: Let’s say that Joaquin causes widespread damage and power outages in a region. What are the repercussions for damage claims?
Cassidy: Well, the local office will likely be offline. Owners should talk to their insurance agents now to find out which office to call and e-mail to file claims the local area be hit hard. Insurers with multiple offices in more than one state are better equipped to provide interrupted service and, therefore, file and process claims with speed.
GlobeSt.com: Should owners make any financial preparations for a storm?
Cassidy: Yes. They should have a reserve fund for their wind deductible. Most property owners don’t realize that they have a 5% deductible on the policy value. They need to talk with their bankers about tapping reserves or credit lines to pay that amount, which can be huge.
GlobeSt.com: How can property owners reduce that deductible?
Cassidy: They should shop around for a wind buy-down policy. It lowers the deductible all the way to 0%. There may be a way to pass that expense along to tenants through common area maintenance charge.