Hurricane preparedness for your business is crucial, and the Tomlin Team wants you to have the following steps in mind this season to assist in the safeguarding of your commercial business and residential properties.
Maintaining up-to-date insurance coverage is crucial. Ensure your premiums are paid on time, as insurers will not pay claims without the payment of premiums. Contact the Tomlin team today to review your coverage and address any concerns.
The Underinsurance Clause
Underinsurance is a common pitfall that can leave you financially vulnerable in the face of a hurricane. Consider this scenario: you insure your property for a value lower than its actual replacement cost, either to save on premiums or because you believe you won’t experience significant damage. However, when a hurricane strikes and causes partial damage, the underinsurance clause comes into play. This means that your claim payout will be proportionally reduced based on the gap between your insured value and the actual cost of repairs. To avoid this issue, it is essential to ensure your coverage matches the current replacement cost of your property. Read more here
The Catastrophe Deductible
This deductible applies to perils such as windstorms, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or floods caused by these events. The deductible is not a fixed percentage of the claim amount but rather a percentage (usually 2% to 5%) of the sum insured. In Barbados, where our main offices are located, the catastrophe deductible is 2% of the sum insured. However, in other Caribbean islands, it can be as high as 5%. It’s crucial to calculate and understand this deductible as it can be a significant amount.
Safeguarding Your Property
See one of our many insurance partner’s guide here
Before the Storm Arrives
General Commercial Business Preparation
Step 1: Protect Property
- Remove any branches or trees adjacent to your building that could potentially fall and cause damage
- Sandbag any areas that are subject to flooding
- Relocate any valuable or fragile possessions
- Secure electronics such as computers and other office equipment
- If possible, turn off all utilities prior to a hurricane making landfall.
- Secure all doors and windows
- Turn off electricity to all non-essential equipment and shut down production processes
- Where applicable, ensure generators are working to preserve produce in the event of a power outage
Step 2: Protect important documents and information
- List and save all important contacts crucial to business operations, such as employees, brokers, banks, lawyers, accountants, suppliers etc.
- To avoid water damage, back-up documents that are not easily reproduced such as insurance documents, legal contracts, tax returns and financial records.
- Seal important documents in waterproof containers onsite, and if possible, in an alternate accessible off-site location.
Step 3: Prepare a Hurricane Kit for your office
Essential items include:
- Battery operated radio
- First Aid kit
- Flashlight, batteries and portable external powerbanks
- Tarps, plastic bags and duct tape
- Updated employee records
- Emergency services contact information, along with insurance company and Tomlin Team contact
PREPARATION FOR SPECIFIC SECTORS
We know that different sectors such as retailers, hotels and construction also require additional preparation.
Hotels & Resorts
- Ensure landscaping is well kept and any tree limbs that could become hazardous are trimmed
- Ensure gutters are cleaned to ensure proper drainage
- Where applicable, secure outdoor furniture like chairs, umbrellas, patio furniture etc.
- Secure motorized and non-motorized water sports equipment
- Notify the guests of the impending bad weather and advise them of the hotel’s safety procedures
- Secure and store all job site equipment and materials, including loose materials, trash, hazardous chemicals, signage
- Make sure backup generators are properly fueled.
- Secure all structures under construction by boarding up doors and windows, and adding sandbags around the perimeter of the job site
- Cancel deliveries to the jobsite until after the storm passes.
- Identify nearby emergency shelters, create an evacuation plan, and have a bag prepared with essential supplies, including baby food, medications, and necessities.
- If you doubt the safety of your home during the storm, seek shelter with a family member, friend, or neighbour.
- If you live in a flood-prone area, move to higher ground immediately.
- Inspect your home for damage-prone areas, and secure it with shutters if winds are projected to exceed a certain threshold
- Clear drains in your vicinity of debris.
- Contact the APUA to trim branches near power lines and ensure there are no branches touching your house. (Antigua)
- Secure loose objects around your home to prevent them from becoming hazards in high winds.
- Stock up on non-perishable food and water.
- Safeguard important documents and valuables in a waterproof bag.
- Plan for pets, as many shelters do not accommodate them.
- Offer assistance to elderly and mobility-challenged family members, friends, and neighbours.
Track Official Updates in the Eastern Caribbean
Barbados: visit the GIS website (see Facebook)
St Kitts: tune into the Government Radio Station ZIZ 96.1 FM
St Lucia: visit http://nemo.gov.lc/
Antigua: tune into Observer Radio FM 91.1 and ABS Radio – FM 90.5
Grenada: NaDMA Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
St. Vincent: visit nemo.gov.vc
After The Storm
Making a Claim
In the event of a hurricane, if there is damage to your home, hotel, or commercial property, here is a 6-step guide to help make a claim less stressful for you during the recovery process:
Commence the Cleanup
Once the storm has subsided and Emergency Services declares it safe, initiate the cleaning process and carry out any necessary temporary repairs to secure your premises.
Document the Damage
Capture photographs of the property damage meticulously, and if feasible, share the GPS coordinates by sending location pins via WhatsApp. These detailed records will greatly aid the insurance company’s loss adjusters when assessing your claim.
Track Emergency Repair Expenses
Maintain an accurate record of the expenses incurred for emergency repairs. These details will be crucial while submitting your claim to the insurance company.
Secure Damaged Equipment and Personal Belongings
Keep any damaged equipment or personal items in a safe location for inspection by a loss adjuster. It is essential to allow the insurers to assess and agree upon the extent of the damage before proceeding with permanent repairs.
Notify Us Promptly
Contact us without delay. The dedicated Tomlin Brokers team is here to assist you in swiftly completing the necessary forms following the event. Remember, there is typically a specified time frame within which you must notify insurance companies after a storm, so kindly inform us of any damage as soon as possible.
Obtain Repair Estimates:
Begin the process of soliciting estimates for the repairs required to restore your damaged property. These estimates will facilitate the claims process by providing an accurate assessment of the necessary expenses.
Contact us today to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your hurricane coverage.