Gulfshore Insurance > Gulfshore Blog > Hurricane

PRS Steps to Take After a HurricaneAfter a hurricane hits, it’s important that you keep your safety in mind before you begin assessing the damage that was done to your property. Pay attention to local officials for information and special instructions. Once confirmed that it is safe to return to your home, keep the following in mind as you begin the recovery process.

Upon return, it is important to survey the property for damage. Do not turn on electrical power until you have inspected the property and evaluated all possible risks. Check for damage inside and outside the property, and document any property damage with photographs, inclusive of your contents. Keep a journal of these damages and report them to your insurance company as soon as you can. Provide a general description of the damage and have your policy number handy if possible.

If your home has sustained damage, it is never a good idea to repair it yourself. However, there are a few things you can do until a professional is able to fix the problem. Remember, do not proceed with permanent repairs or remove debris until the insurance adjuster has had the opportunity to inspect the resulting damages. Save all of your receipts as the insurance company will ask for them at a later date.

  • Cover damaged roofs with tarps.
  • Cover broken windows with plywood or plastic.
  • Use lumber or 4-by-4s to brace sagging ceilings. Remove any wet insulation.
  • If possible, restore your air conditioning systems or run fans to prevent mold.
  • If mold has already started to grow, clean it up with a mixture of bleach and water.


For decades, Gulfshore Insurance has helped our clients manage the aftermath of devastating hurricanes. We have taken extra steps to ensure we will be there for you following a hurricane or other natural disaster.

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in home and homeowners insurance, car and auto insurance, boat and yacht insurance, property insurance, umbrella insurance, valuables insurance for fine art, jewelry, wine, and more. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your high net worth risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Port Royal, Park Shore, Pelican Bay, The Moorings, Naples Beach, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Sanibel Island, Captiva, Fort Myers, Sarasota, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

PRS Realtor Insight Addressing Hurricane Season Insurance ConcernsHurricane Season can be a time of turmoil for property owners and real estate professionals alike. The short-term effects of a hurricane can occur both before and after a storm.

Before a Hurricane

Between June 1st and November 30th, Florida enters Hurricane Season, and real estate professionals should be aware of possible restrictions regarding securing insurance for a home purchase. If there is a named storm (typically a Tropical Storm, Hurricane Watch, or Warning) that develops and is threatening our area, most insurers will temporarily close for new policies until the threat passes.  In other words, a buyer won’t be able to obtain insurance. This has the potential to impact a home’s closing. If the buyer is financing the home purchase, their lender typically won’t grant a loan commitment without homeowner’s insurance. To prevent this, it is critical to advise buyers to look into securing their insurance as soon as possible, and before the closing date. Buyers should contact their insurance agent and purchase a policy as early as possible during Hurricane Season.

In addition, standard homeowners’ policies typically exclude the peril of flood. All properties are located in a flood zone.  Realtors should advise buyers to seek guidance from a local insurance advisor to perform a flood zone determination and confirm if the property is located within a Special Flood Hazard Area.

Recently, there have been numerous legislative and rate changes for flood policies by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Most recently, FEMA implemented Risk Rating 2.0 thereby transforming a pricing methodology that had not been updated in 50 years. As of April of this year, all policies are now subject to the new rating methodology. Current NFIP rates are not grandfathered in; however, if a buyer confirms the seller has an existing NFIP flood policy, a new policy can be written using the seller’s Glide Path. The seller will need to provide a copy of their current policy Declarations page; the minimum information needed includes the flood insurance carrier, policy number, expiration date, and original policy date. We recommend confirming the seller has a flood insurance policy in place through the NFIP and obtaining a copy of that policy which will enable the buyer to obtain preferred pricing for their new flood policy. If the seller does not have a flood policy in place, in addition to coverage through the NFIP, new home buyers can purchase their coverage through Private Flood markets which have been competitive for a good number of property owners in our area.

Even policy information from the seller for the property may not always be reliable due to flood zone changes and rating errors. It is best to consult an experienced Florida insurance professional at the very start of the due diligence process with any property, to get an accurate flood insurance quote and explanation of flood zones.

After a Hurricane

Insurance carriers carefully review properties for prior losses and open claims and will inspect homes after a new policy is placed, as well as spot-check the home over the life of the policy. In most cases, homes with existing damage are uninsurable if repairs are not made prior to the home closing or in a timely manner following the closing. All insurance carriers will require photos of the affected damaged areas, contractor receipts, and any applicable permits to show that the repairs have been completed.  It is not uncommon for insurance carriers to cancel coverage if issues are discovered that were not disclosed on the application. It is important to understand that overall, it is very challenging to bind a new policy for a home that has an open hurricane claim.

Following a catastrophic hurricane or other natural disaster, insurance companies may struggle to keep up with higher-than-expected losses, and subsequently, homeowners may see increases in rates. Average home insurance rates have risen in every state in the last decade, mainly due to natural disasters, and Florida’s average rate is the highest in the nation. Florida tends to have most of its damage caused by hurricanes, such as Hurricane Irma, which hit the state in September 2017 and caused $11.1 billion worth of damage, with the vast majority of that to homes.

No area in the country, or arguably the world, has a stretch of coastline as expansive and hurricane-prone as Florida. This susceptibility to hurricanes puts homeowners and insurance companies in a risky situation. Real estate professionals should always advise homeowners to seek the advice of a local insurance agent on coverages needed. Just as insurance companies have different contracts by state, the contracts can also vary greatly within a state. A local agent will be able to help navigate through these differences and identify the bigger gaps in coverage/contracts.

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in home and homeowners insurance, car and auto insurance, boat and yacht insurance, property insurance, umbrella insurance, valuables insurance for fine art, jewelry, wine, and more. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your high net worth risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Port Royal, Park Shore, Pelican Bay, The Moorings, Naples Beach, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Sanibel Island, Captiva, Fort Myers, Sarasota, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

Commerical Lines Advanced Hurricane Planning for Businesses 2022 04

Of all businesses that close down following a disaster, more than 25 percent never open their doors again. While there’s no way to lower the risk of a natural disaster from hurricanes, there are critical measures that can be taken to protect your company’s bottom line from nature’s fury. A disaster plan and adequate insurance are keys to recovery.

Disaster Recovery Plan

No matter how small or large a business, a business impact analysis should be developed to identify what an operation must do to protect itself in the face of a natural disaster. Large corporations often hire risk managers to handle this task and some companies hire consultants with expertise in disaster planning and recovery to assist them with their plans. But small businesses can do the analysis and planning on their own using these strategies:

  • Set up an emergency response plan and train employees how to carry it out. Make sure employees know who to notify about the disaster and what measures to take to ensure safety and limit property losses.
  • Write out each step of the plan and assign responsibilities to employees in clear and simple language. Practice the procedures set out in the emergency response plan with regular, scheduled drills.
  • Consider the things you may initially need during the emergency. Do you need a back-up source of power? Do you have a back-up communications system?
  • Decide on a communications strategy to prevent loss of customers. Post notices outside your premises; contact clients by phone, email or regular mail; and place a notice in local newspapers.
  • Protect employees and customers from injury on the premises. Consider the possible impact a disaster will have on your employees’ ability to return to work and how customers can return to your premises, or receive goods or services.
  • Compile a list of important phone numbers and addresses. Make sure you can get in touch with key people after the disaster. The list should include local and state emergency management agencies, major clients, contractors, suppliers, realtors, financial institutions, insurance agents and insurance company claim representatives.
  • Keep duplicate records. Back-up computerized data files regularly and store them off-premises. Keep copies of important records and documents in a safe deposit box and make sure they’re up to date.
  • Even if your business escapes a disaster, there is still a risk that the business could suffer significant losses due to the inability of suppliers to deliver goods or services, or because of a reduction in customers. Businesses should communicate with their suppliers and markets (especially if they are selling to a business as a supplier) about their disaster preparedness and recovery plans, so that everyone is prepared.
  • Protect your building. If you own the structure that houses your business, integrate disaster protection for the building as well as the contents into your plan. Consider the financial impact if your business shuts down as a result of a disaster. What would be the impact for a day, a week or an entire revenue period?
  • Identify critical business activities and the resources needed to support them. If you cannot afford to shut down your operations, even temporarily, determine what you require to run the business at another location.
  • Find alternative facilities, equipment and supplies, and locate qualified contractors. Consider a reciprocity agreement with another business. Try to get an advance commitment from at least one contractor to respond to your needs.
  • Protect computer systems and data. Data storage firms offer off-site backups of computer data that can be updated regularly via high-speed modem or through the Internet.


Review Your Insurance Plan

Make sure you have sufficient coverage to pay for the indirect costs of the disaster—the disruption to your business—as well as the cost of repair or rebuilding. Most policies do not cover flood or earthquake damage and you may need to buy separate insurance for these perils. Be sure you understand your policy deductibles and limits.

For a business, the costs of a disaster can extend beyond the physical damage to the premises, equipment, furniture and other business property. There’s the potential loss of income while the premises are unusable. Your disaster recovery should include a detailed review of your insurance policies to ensure there are no gaps in coverage. This includes property insurance, business interruption insurance and extra expense insurance. Even if your basic policy covers expenses and loss of net business income, it may not cover income interruptions due to damage that occurs away from your premises—such as to your key customer or supplier or to your utility company. You can generally buy this additional coverage and add it to your existing policy.

Most business owners are complacent about natural disasters until it happens to them. It’s only when the owner has gone through a disaster that a disaster plan, including purchasing the proper insurance, is usually considered.

Don’t let a lack of insurance coverage or poor planning destroy your business. Contact Gulfshore Insurance to learn more about disaster planning and to determine your best insurance coverage needs.

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in business insurance including liability insurance, property insurance, workers compensation insurance, vehicle insurance, business income interruption insurance, cyber insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are industry specialists for condominium associations, golf and country clubs, oil and petroleum marketers, construction, landscaping, churches and non-profits, and work comp. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your business risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lido Beach, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

GSI Gen Top 10 Lessons Learned from Past Hurricanes in Our Area 2022 04 1June 1st marks the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. While we anxiously await what’s in store for the 2022 season, let’s look back at the top 10 lessons learned from years past:

1. Understand Hurricane & Wind Deductibles – Often, one of the most frequently misunderstood policy provisions of property insurance policies is the wind deductible. Make sure your deductible is applied per structure, not per total insurable value. Know how the percentage is calculated and know that the percentage deductible changes when the insurable value changes. Here are five things every condominium association must understand about their hurricane deductible.

2. Know Your Coverage – Some of the most common questions we receive concern coverage, and whether the association or unit owner is responsible. The master policy must cover all portions of the condo property as originally installed or replacement of like kind and quality, in accordance with the original plans and specifications. Coverage for the following is excluded: floor coverings, wall coverings, ceiling coverings, electrical fixtures, appliances, water heaters, water filters, built-in cabinets and countertops, and window treatments. However, drywall, doors, windows, baseboards and shutters may be the maintenance responsibility of the unit owner, but they are the primary insurance responsibility of the association. Even if the condo bylaws or documents state that drywall, windows, shutters, etc. are the primary responsibility of the unit owner, Florida statute 718.111 dictates otherwise.  This helpful checklist highlights what’s covered and what’s not.

3. Know Your Exclusions – It is important to understand that insurance policies may have specific exclusions and conditions for each type of coverage. A property insurance policy exclusion is a provision contained within your policy language that explicitly declares that certain types of loss will not be covered by your policy. Essentially, the “exclusions” contained within your policy are the exceptions to the general statement of property insurance coverage. Of course, property insurance policies vary considerably. So, there may be many different types of loss that are excluded within your specific policy. Some examples of losses that are frequently subject to policy exclusions in Florida include wind driven rain, landscaping, and debris removal.

4. Evaluate the Need for Excess Flood Insurance – Experiencing a flood can be overwhelming for condo associations because they must deal with a wide range of damage—from property to common area to individual units—and multiple owners. All residents that live in special flood hazard areas are typically required to purchase flood insurance as a stipulation of their mortgage. However, sometimes this coverage is not enough. If it would cost more to rebuild or replace the property than the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides, an excess flood policy is encouraged. As hurricanes have shown, storm surge can completely level and destroy homes. So, what can you do to get excess flood coverage?

5. Evaluate Need to Levy Special Assessment  –  When Hurricane Irma hit our area, there was some very heavy cleanup and repair costs for many condominiums and neighborhoods. Of course, none of those unexpected costs were in the association’s budget for the year. So, how do associations pay for this type of damage and the associated repair bills? There are basically three ways to pay these bills: Borrow from the bank, raise the regular assessments in the following year’s budget, or levy special assessments. As most associations don’t want to pay bank interest unless necessary and they also don’t want to raise regular assessments that much year to year, the most chosen method is levying special assessments.

6. Consider a Line of Credit – We have seen several communities take out a line of credit with a lending institution to obtain the funds necessary to make any repairs suffered from Hurricane damage. The association has the right and duty to manage, maintain, and operate the common areas, and a loan is a proper way to meet this obligation under Florida law. Many banks will consider making a loan or extending a line of credit to your association as it is primarily secured and collateralized by the assessments paid by the unit owners, and thus it is a relatively safe loan for the lender.

7. Review Subcontractor Requirements – Following a disaster, there is typically a need to hire contractors to handle repairs. Hiring an unqualified contractor and potentially squandering your insurance proceeds exposes board members to potential personal liability. While accidents and claims cannot always be avoided, to some degree, risk can be contractually transferred to reduce the impact on costs associated with claims. It can all be confusing, but it is critical to ensure your association is transferring all third party risk and only retaining what is appropriate. Here is a list of recommendations to include in a subcontractor or vendor agreement that can be used to protect your association from the negligence of others.

8. Get Prepared Before the Next Hurricane – Two critical components to weather safety are to 1) prepare for the risks and 2) to act on those preparations when alerted by emergency officials. Our Hurricane Preparedness Guide is designed to assist Community Association Boards of Directors and Property Managers on how to be best prepared in the event of a serious storm or other disaster. Below are a few tips:

  • Make sure to pre-contract with vendors each year and include details on how soon they will arrive after the “all-clear” is given.
  • Pre-determine a remote office site.
  • Use the association’s website, mobile app, and voicemail outgoing message to give information to residents.
  • Publish a priority repair and reinstatement list, to inform residents of what will be restored first in the community.
  • Create a Hurricane Preparation Resource Guide that includes:
    • Useful contacts
    • Resource Checklist
    • To-Do list for when there is a Tropical Storm or Hurricane Warning
    • To-Do list for when the Tropical Storm or Hurricane has passed


9. Ensure Adequate Reserves – What happens when an association encounters large or unexpected expenses as a result of a hurricane? Where does the association get the money to repair or replace these? At those times, the association’s reserve fund comes into play. Adding money to your Association’s reserves is a tough sell to members. However, the reality is that many associations (upward of 70%) are woefully undercapitalized. They can pay the day-to-day bills as long as nothing unexpected happens, but something always comes up. Continue reading…

10. Handling Claims in the Aftermath of a Disaster – Make sure you partner with an insurance agency that specializes in associations and has a robust claims and risk management division. It is critical to work with an agency that has experienced Claims Advocates that are also licensed claims adjusters who can assist you with potential claims.  Further, ask your insurance agent to provide you with a copy of their agency’s disaster preparedness plan and details on how they’ll function and prioritize your association’s needs after the storm.  This is especially important if the agency you partner with has never experienced the aftermath of a hurricane and post-disaster claims management. Learn more.

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in liability insurance, property insurance, workers compensation insurance, vehicle insurance, business income interruption insurance, cyber insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, home and homeowners insurance, car and auto insurance, boat and yacht insurance, property insurance, umbrella insurance, valuables insurance for fine art, jewelry, wine, and more. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lido Beach, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

Personal Lines Realtor Insight Addressing Hurricane Season Insurance ConcernsHurricane Season can be a time of turmoil for property owners and real estate professionals alike. The short-term effects of a hurricane can occur both before and after a storm.

Before a Hurricane
Between June 1st and November 30th, Florida enters Hurricane Season, and real estate professionals should be aware of possible restrictions regarding securing insurance for a home purchase. If there is a named storm (typically a Tropical Storm, Hurricane Watch, or Warning) that develops and is threatening our area, most insurers will temporarily close for new policies until the threat passes.  In other words, a buyer won’t be able to obtain insurance. This has the potential to impact a home’s closing. If the buyer is financing the home purchase, their lender typically won’t grant a loan commitment without homeowner’s insurance. To prevent this, it is critical to advise buyers to look into securing their insurance as soon as possible, and before the closing date. Buyers should contact their insurance agent and purchase a policy as early as possible during Hurricane Season.

In addition, standard homeowners’ policies typically exclude the peril of flood. All properties are located in a flood zone.  Realtors should advise buyers to seek guidance from a local insurance advisor to perform a flood zone determination and confirm if the property is located within a Special Flood Hazard Area.  Recently, there have been numerous legislative and rate changes for flood policies by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Most recently, FEMA has updated the NFIP’s pricing methodology to communicate flood risk more clearly so policyholders can make more informed decisions on the purchase of adequate insurance and on mitigation actions to protect against the perils of flooding. The 21st century rating system, Risk Rating 2.0—Equity in Action, provides actuarially sound rates that are equitable and easy to understand. It transforms a pricing methodology that has not been updated in 50 years by leveraging improved technology and FEMA’s enhanced understanding of flood risk. FEMA is taking a phased approach to rolling out the new rates:

  • Phase I: New policies beginning Oct. 1, 2021 will be subject to the new rating methodology. Also beginning Oct. 1, existing policyholders eligible for renewal will be able to take advantage of immediate decreases in their premiums.
  • Phase II: All remaining policies renewing on or after April 1, 2022 will be subject to the new rating methodology.

 

Even policy information from the seller for the property may not always be reliable due to flood zone changes and rating errors. It is best to consult an experienced Florida insurance professional at the very start of the due diligence process with any property, to get an accurate flood insurance quote and explanation of flood zones.

After a Hurricane
Insurance carriers carefully review properties for prior losses and open claims and will inspect homes after a new policy is placed, as well as, spot-check the home over the life of the policy. In most cases, homes with existing damage are uninsurable if repairs are not made prior to the home closing or in a timely manner following the closing. All insurance carriers will require photos of the affected damaged areas, contractor receipts, and any applicable permits to show that the repairs have been completed.  It is not uncommon for insurance carriers to cancel coverage if issues are discovered that were not disclosed on the application. It is important to understand that overall, it is very challenging to bind a new policy for a home that has an open hurricane claim.

Following a catastrophic hurricane or other natural disaster, insurance companies may struggle to keep up with higher-than-expected losses, and subsequently, homeowners may see increases in rates. Average home insurance rates have risen in every state in the last decade, mainly due to natural disasters, and Florida’s average rate is the highest in the nation. Florida tends to have most of its damage caused by hurricanes, such as Hurricane Irma, which hit the state in September 2017 and caused $11.1 billion worth of damage, with the vast majority of that to homes.

No area in the country, or arguably the world, has a stretch of coastline as expansive and hurricane-prone as Florida. This susceptibility to hurricanes puts homeowners and insurance companies in a risky situation. Real estate professionals should always advise homeowners to seek the advice of a local insurance agent on coverages needed. Just as insurance companies have different contracts by state, the contracts can also vary greatly within a state. A local agent will be able to help navigate through these differences and identify the bigger gaps in coverage/contracts.

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in home and homeowners insurance, car and auto insurance, boat and yacht insurance, property insurance, umbrella insurance, valuables insurance for fine art, jewelry, wine, and more. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your high net worth risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Port Royal, Park Shore, Pelican Bay, The Moorings, Naples Beach, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Sanibel Island, Captiva, Fort Myers, Sarasota, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.