Know the proper actions to take
The recent devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria reminds us of two things: the importance of community and the importance of being prepared. Though hurricane season may be drawing to a close, natural disasters can and do occur year round. While you’re encouraging your clients to prepare their properties for these potential problems, there are a few important steps that should be taken for yourself, and your agency as well.
Communicate before the storm
When you know that a natural disaster may be approaching, send your clients an email with important contact information, an outline of clear, concise steps they can take to prepare and protect their property and a list of questions they will be asked if they need to file a claim. Let them know what to do if you cannot be reached. Arm them with key information that will not only save them time and stress, but will do the same for you and your company as well.
Take your emergency action plan off the shelf
Your emergency action plan should be reviewed at least once a year, and updated as necessary. Include an outline on how varying natural and man-made emergencies can impact your agency’s operations and detail the responses required. It’s also important to name key individuals and note their responsibilities, and to have contact information for local emergency services on hand.
Put your plan into action by training your staff and practicing drills to review things like evacuation policies and escape routes. Running through your emergency response plan several times will help you to perfect it and see clearly where changes or adjustments might need to be made.
Safeguard your data
While preparing your building and grounds for a natural disaster, don’t forget to do the same with your agency’s data. Back up your computer ahead of time and keep a copy of important information in a safe and protected place. Shut down all computers and turn off monitors and any peripherals, such as printers and external drives. Also remember to unplug power cords and network cables from all devices to help protect them from power surges and lightening voltage damage that could travel through the lines.
Natural disasters bring with them lots of uncertainty, but having carefully thought-out plans put in place ahead of time can help ensure that your agency and clients are better equipped to handle the storm.
Our thoughts are with those who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, and with the agents who are busy working day-in and day-out to get impacted insureds back on their feet.
Sarah McCauley, Marketing
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