There are several steps consumers and business owners can take to get smart about their insurance coverage and prepare for disasters before they strike:
• Call your Northeast Florida independent insurance agent for free tips and up-to-date information prior to purchasing business or commercial insurance coverage.
• Schedule a routine "check-up" with your independent insurance agent at least once a year.
• Inquire about the cost benefit of opting for higher deductibles.
• Ask specifically about discounts.
• Shop around for identical products and services. Not every company charges the same rate.
• Remember that an insurance policy is a legal document. Read it carefully.
Important Disaster Preparedness Links
• National Weather Service
• Florida Weather Monitor
• Florida Emergency Management
• White House--Department of Homeland Security
• Federal Emergency Management Agency
• Jacksonville Weather
National Survey reveals urgent need for better disaster preparedness
ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 24, 2010 – Most Americans are not fully prepared in the event of a natural disaster, according to a new national survey by Trusted Choice® and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”).
Of all survey respondents, less than 22% said they felt they are fully prepared in case of a disaster. More than half of respondents (51%) admitted they are only somewhat prepared, and more than a fifth of households (22.7%) reported that they were not prepared at all.
“Hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and other disasters can happen anytime, anywhere, as we recently saw with the devastating floods in Tennessee,” says Madelyn Flannagan, Big “I” vice president of agent development, education and research. “Lives and property are saved when people know what to do before, during and after a disaster. This national study further demonstrates that unfortunately most people are not ready in the event of a natural disaster.”
The survey further revealed that many households have not even taken the most basic steps to protect against a disaster. For example, more than two-thirds of those surveyed (67.7%) said they had not created a photo or video home inventory of their belongings. More than 40% have not assembled a disaster and emergency supplies kit in their homes. Sixty-eight percent of homeowners have not made any structural improvements or reinforcements to better protect their property from a disaster.
Of all survey participants, almost 36% said they don’t have or don’t know if they have adequate insurance coverage to help them through a disaster, and an alarming 62% say they have never discussed a complete disaster preparedness plan with an insurance agent.
”Independent insurance agents not only advise clients about insurance, but they’re disaster readiness experts,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) president & CEO. “It is imperative to know what your risks are and what to do in the event of a disaster. We recommend meeting with a Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent who is an expert in assessing your risks and insuring that you, your family and your home are prepared in the event of a disaster.”
Trusted Choice® and the Big “I” offer many disaster-specific readiness and recovery tips for consumers. To access go to www.trustedchoice.com.
Luckily, this unfortunate — and often costly — information gap is completely avoidable. When it comes to insurance, knowledge is your best policy. That’s why the IIANF is encouraging business owners and consumers to get smart about their coverage.
IIANF feels one of your best resources for disaster preparedness and catastrophe planning is your Northeast Florida independent insurance agent. Corrine Garrison, a past president of IIANF (2003-2004) and a long time member of IIANF states, “We believe IIANF members are the best resource for our clients’ and customers’ insurance-related questions and concerns. This Web site and its links as well as the Web site of IIANF members provide the perfect opportunity for us to connect with business owners and consumers to encourage them to get smart about their coverage and about disaster preparedness."