A traffic sign in floodwaters for a blog post covering natural disastersIn recent years, as more people and businesses move to storm-prone areas, we’ve seen substantial damages caused by natural disasters. And although issues associated with wild weather are never a good thing, they do highlight the important role precautionary measures can play in protecting one’s property and assets.

There are a number of proactive steps companies can — and should — take when it comes to storm safety. First and foremost, it’s always a good idea to review your insurance coverages, consider potential geographical factors and make sure you understand your deductibles as they relate to severe weather occurrences. It’s also important to take preventative measures to mitigate risks and property damage. For those who are just getting started, or are looking for a bit of a refresher, BCH provides a variety of resources and updates to help you plan for the future. Read on for additional information to help you stand prepared for natural disasters.

Storm Damages and Deductibles
Mother Nature can be unpredictable, so regardless of where your business resides, it’s best to stay informed and remain vigilant. We recommend incorporating policy reviews into discussions with your trusted risk management professional in order to keep everyone on the same page — and to ensure you’re adequately prepared for adverse weather. And if you’re insured in a high-risk location, there are additional coverage details you’ll likely want to consider.

Hurricanes and other natural disasters pose a financial risk to insurance companies due to their costly nature and potential for widespread impact. Providers identify locations that are prone to weather-related incidents based on factors such as their proximity to bodies of water and overall population. Properties within those designated areas are subject to “named storm deductibles” in the event of damage or loss. These deductibles are higher than your standard amount, to shield providers from incurring large upfront expenses. Named storm deductibles are triggered by tropical depressions, tropical storms or hurricanes the National Weather Service deems dangerous enough to name. Whether or not your location places you in a higher risk category, it pays to understand what your coverage and costs entail.

Safeguarding Your Structures
Structures near the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coastline sit at a higher risk of damage or loss during storm season. Acquiring the proper insurance and understanding your coverages is a step in the right direction, but there are additional preventative measures property owners should consider for the future. For instance, proper adherence to building codes during new builds or renovations helps reduce damages and lower the cost of insurance claims if disaster strikes. These codes are standards established by government officials to help properties — and their owners — sidestep weather-related damages and stand better prepared through storm season.

What do such building codes require? During the construction process, contractors in some hurricane-prone localities might be required to install beams and joists to ensure they can withstand heavy winds. In certain areas, communities require all buildings to meet such guidelines, so they retain their value over time and minimize structural damage. Such considerations might seem like an added hassle amid an already busy construction period, but they can pay off in big ways. In a recent study, FEMA found that every dollar spent building properties rated to meet modern building codes can save $11 in disaster repair and recovery expenses.

While such measures may seem daunting, long-term preparedness can help reduce the likelihood of loss, decrease insurance premiums and minimize repair expenses. Remember, our risk advisors are here when it matters, and are dedicated to helping you protect your business. If you have questions on any of the above, or if you’re interested in learning more about BCH’s risk management, commercial insurance or employee benefits offerings, please feel free to contact our team. We’re always glad to help!