On Friday, I took a deposition from our Tampa office via video conference questioning an adjuster in Charlotte. At about 1:45 pm, Erin Dunnovant rushed in our boardroom to tell me the office building and our entire area was being evacuated. I had to suspend the deposition and grab my computer. Opposing counsel said they would help in any way possible and took my cell number. He already sent a message about staying safe.
Continue Reading Hurricane Irma Mandatory Evacuations Taken Seriously by Tampa Bay Area and Merlin’s Tampa Office

One lesson I learned from Hurricane Katrina was to take your insurance papers with you when you leave. If a major storm surge hits, the local insurance agency is going to get hit as well. It may wash away or not open for weeks. Owners of property may find their own property washed away along with the insurance papers carefully tucked away. The National Guard and police may prevent you from going back to your property for weeks. While many—but not all—can remember their insurance carrier, which Write Your Own flood carrier is on the declarations sheet is usually a guess without the paperwork.
Continue Reading Key West Takes Direct Hit From Irma—Take Insurance Papers With You

Most Floridians are making their last minute preparations for Hurricane Irma and protecting their property from potential damage. In addition to having enough batteries, flashlights, bottled water, food, medications, and pet supplies, you want to make sure your important documents are in a safe, waterproof and easy to access location. This includes your homeowners insurance policy and flood insurance policy. If you only have a hard copy of your policy, make pictures or scan the policy and save it to the cloud.
Continue Reading Last Minute Preparations for Hurricane Irma

Over the years, the Merlin Law Group’s Blog has provided hurricane advice and assistance. I wrote a blog in advance of Hurricane Matthew, Quick Tips and Useful Links – Hurricane Matthew. My colleague, Nicole Vinson, posted a blog, Don’t Ignore Warnings of Tropical Systems.
Continue Reading Hurricane Irma – Useful Tips and Important Resources Including Websites and Phone Numbers

For those on the Northeast who had to face the wrath of Superstorm Sandy, it is too soon to imagine another Sandy, let alone anything worse than Sandy. However, the reality, experts say, is that “[e]ight hurricanes are predicted for this year’s hurricane season, perhaps the most since Superstorm Sandy struck New Jersey in 2012.”1

Continue Reading The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season has Started and Experts Predict Worst Hurricane Season Since Superstorm Sandy

Here on the East Coast, the news is dominated by Hurricane Joaquin and its potential impact on the Eastern Seaboard. One of the many topics is how to prepare for the storm. Residents are encouraged to purchase staples such as water, bread and milk; make sure they have flashlights and batteries; secure outdoor furniture, etc. This is good advice as it seems the storm will take aim somewhere on the East Coast. Inevitably there will be damage somewhere so I would like to take a few minutes to talk about preparing for what we call the storm after the storm.

Continue Reading Preparing Yourself for Joaquin

Since its inception in 2004, National Preparedness Month has been observed in the U.S. each September.1 Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) within the Department of Homeland Security, National Preparedness Month encourages Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities. FEMA’s Ready Campaign, the correlating public education outreach campaign, disseminates information to help the general public prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.2

Continue Reading September is National Preparedness Month