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This week is Hurricane Preparedness Week and now is the time to prepare for a potential land-falling tropical storm or hurricane along the Gulf Coast. 

With the start of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season on June 1, learn what a hurricane could do to your home or business.

To illustrate what to expect should a powerful hurricane make landfall on the Gulf Coast, the National Weather Service has shared this video about the increasing levels of property damage associated with hurricanes of different strength.

The video was produced by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research’s COMET program, which designs scientific training lessons for students.

While the U.S has not been hit by a major hurricane in a decade, forecasts this year are pointing to a near to slightly above-average season, and that means a better chance of a storm making landfall.

According to John Minor, President of Complete, Inc. — a construction, insurance appraisal, and expert witness firm on the Gulf Coast — understanding your property’s risk to storm damage is key to successfully managing a hurricane loss.

“The right coverages in the right amounts can make or break your chances of either returning to your business or restoring your residence,” says Minor. “The Small Business Administration, FEMA and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety estimate up to 40 percent of businesses close their doors for good following a widespread storm.”

According to Minor, in the aftermath of a storm, safety and security of the occupants is the first priority. Following a storm, property owners will begin the process of working with their insurers on their claims. Many property owners and insurers, however, will disagree on the limits of the loss, says Minor.

“If an owner disagrees with their insurer on the allowance provided for their home, then they have the right to attend the Florida Department of Financial Services Mediation program,” says Minor. “This is an excellent program that provides an opportunity for an owner and the insurer to meet and see if they an agreement.”

As much pertinent information that can be brought to that meeting is essential, according to Minor:

  • Pictures of the loss
  • Any other coverage worksheets (flood)
  • Diagrams of the residence
  • Estimates and receipts of incurred expenses
  • Forensic diagnostic or engineering reports
  • County or cities letters of determination
  • Contents photos worksheets and the back up on how one came to the number

Appraisal

This alternative dispute resolution process is included in most commercial, residential, and industrial policies, along with policies provided to municipalities. According to Minor, the appraisal method has been a go-to mechanism for when the dispute is “how much,” not whether or not the damage was from a non-covered cause of loss.

“Appraisal allows the owner to select an appraiser and the insurers to do the same and the two appraisers or the court appoint a third,” says Minor. “The process is simply that — it takes two of the three to set the amount of the loss. This can include all of the coverages in a policy and is also sometimes used in the flood policy. It is written into almost all policies and starts with, “if you and we disagree.”

Watch Minor discuss the appraisal process:

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This post is a sponsored collaboration between The Pulse and Complete, Inc., a licensed general construction, insurance appraisal, insurance umpire and expert witness firm serving customers across the U.S. and the Gulf Coast.

If your home or property is damaged by severe weather or a hurricane, Complete, Inc. can assist in the aftermath by providing expert services to restore homes and businesses that have suffered damage by wind, fire, or flood. 

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