I saw a number of property managers of former Community Association clients yesterday at the Community Associations Institute National Conference in New Orleans. We recalled the trials and tribulations of catastrophes long past. We consult with a number of them regarding their insurance programs and will sometimes have a conference with their insurance brokers and agents trying to anticipate coverage which would be needed in the event of another disaster.

Following up on my post this morning, I told one property management owner at breakfast that his business could be financially destroyed if, due to a natural disaster, the significant properties they manage could not be rented. His firm receives a percentage of rental revenues as a management fee. When I explained that Consequential or Dependent Business Interruption Coverage could help insure his loss of income if that happened, he seemed amazed that such coverage existed.

Chances are a loss will not happen. Chances are that if a loss does happen, it will be minor. But, I have found that Fate is kinder to those that have anticipated life’s financial disasters and make preparation through insurance.

Tip One–Every business owner and property owner should have a discussion with their agent about their property and business with "what if" scenarios at least once a year to make certain they are fully covered.

Later in the morning, I flew with a client to Destin, Florida. We represented a number of Condominium Associations in Destin with their insurance claims or insurance litigation following Hurricane Opal and more recently Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Every year we provide a disaster preparedness seminar for them. As we took off from the airport and I viewed the clear blue waters and the prettiest white sandy beaches anywhere, I thought about how all that serenity changes in an instant when a hurricane strikes.

Tip Two–Take action today for the steps you need to harden your structures.

While an article in this morning’s Insurance Journal mentions that Mississippi is starting a research project on wind damage mitigation steps, you do not have to be an engineer to figure out some basic things to do:

  1. Inspect and, if needed, repair or replace your roof. This is the number one cause of failure in a hurricane.
  2. Inspect and repair windows with caulking and glazing. Some old windows may simply have to be replaced.
  3. Make a plan for what you are going to do for evacuation and then list disaster activities down to the smallest of steps. For example, what will you do with pets in case of an evacuation? If you are a business owner, what are your employees’ duties after a loss if they have personal tragedies which need attending?

Late April and the entire month of May are usually beautiful throughout this country. These are the months in the South and along the Eastern Seaboard to take actions which will provide you the peace of mind knowing you are as ready as you can be for the upcoming hurricane season. Do yourself a favor and don’t just agree with me if you have read this far—pick up the phone and call your agent. Write out a plan and encourage others to do the same.