Hurricane Season is here, and with the devastating weather that has already ravaged the United States this spring, Florida policyholders are urged to be prepared. The Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters’ most recent article reminds policyholders that true preparation requires homeowners and business owners to not only prepare their property and their families, but to also have an action plan in place for after the storm.

The Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, commonly called FAPIA, has been an active organization of public adjusters helping policyholders in Florida with insurance claims since 1993. I wrote about the history of FAPIA in my prior post, The FAPIA website lists the contact information for its members and its directory can be searched by name or by zip code. FAPIA consists of nearly 500 members and associate members who have joined together to protect the interests of insured homeowners and businesses that suffer an insurance loss. Where company and independent adjusters represent the insurance companies, public adjusters represent the insured. The association is based in Maitland, and its members are located everywhere from the Panhandle to the Keys.

David Beasley is the current FAPIA president. Before becoming a public insurance adjuster, Mr. Beasley worked as a large loss adjuster for a very well known insurance giant. David Beasley and FAPIA remind policyholders to secure their property and check their policies of insurance.

Once basic supplies are secured and stored for the storm, begin a review of your insurance coverage. Does it cover flood or wind damage? Does it take into account current market value to rebuild your home or business? What is required of you under "Duties After Loss"? Failure to follow the provisions here could result in non-payment on your legitimate claim.

Carefully review the "Exclusions" portion of your windstorm policy. Some insurance companies have added new exclusions to coverage, which could affect your protection against property damage.

Now is the time to locate your policy, review the provisions, and ask questions.

Now is also a good time to take pictures. Many times, people photograph the damage after the storm, but photographs and video should also be taken before a storm starts brewing. Videos and photos complete with dates and descriptions are a great way to show an insurance company the condition of your property before a loss. These photos also become very valuable when trying to make a list of damaged property after a loss. Be sure to keep this information in several places or in a format that isn’t easily destroyed.

FAPIA’s website offers more tips to help prepare for a storm, suggesting stockpiling two weeks worth of necessary supplies, making a written hurricane plan for whole family, and making a few copies of your insurance policies before and storing them in more than one safe place.

FAPIA members follow the same statutory and ethical requirements imposed on all public adjusters licensed in Florida, but members have also elected to follow FAPIA’S Code of Ethics. The Code emphasizes professionalism and education. Each year, FAPIA holds two conferences with numerous educational courses for public adjusters.

Merlin Law Group has been invited by FAPIA to present at the next conference, in Fort Lauderdale, July 7-9.

Chip MerlinDoug Grose and David Pettinato will be presenting "What Experienced and Advanced Public Adjusters Should Have Included in their Claims File” — Reaching the level of excellence through best practice methods of claim file documentation.

Javier Delgado and I will be presenting “Case Law Update” — An overview of current case law that affects property insurance claim settlements –from the daily claim to those pertaining to windstorm claims.

For more information on how to attend the conference as a member or non-member, click here.