Hurricanes can cause severe business interruption. Having a comprehensive business continuity plan is essential to help mitigate your risk and safeguard your employees' wellbeing before and after a hurricane.

Pre-Planning: Before Hurricane Season Begins

The time to start talking with your Gallagher representative is before a hurricane season begins (before May). It's critical to secure the appropriate coverage, understand what is covered under your current property policy and update existing property schedules. Items to confirm for named storm, wind and flood exposures include:

  • Deductible(s) for property damage (% deductible)
  • Time element
  • Claim preparation coverage limits
  • Ingress/egress coverage (limits and triggers)
  • Civil authority coverage (limits and triggers)
  • Service interruption coverage
  • Flood
  • Water backup coverage via drains, sewers, pumps

To assist you in hurricane preparedness, we've put together a Hurricane Preparedness Checklist and Flood Preparedness Checklist.

Did you know…

The average waiting period before flood coverage takes effect is 30 days through NFIP? This should be part of your pre-planning considerations.

Emergency Response Team and Business Continuity Planning

Meet with your emergency response team in preparation for the upcoming season to review and update the following to prepare your business and your employees for the hurricane. We have included below sample documents for you to create a hurricane emergency kit for your business:

You want to ensure your most important asset, your employees, understand what to do and where to go for information if a hurricane occurs.

Audit inventories and stock essential supplies before hurricane season.

What to do when a Hurricane Warning or Watch is Issued

You won't have much time to react once a hurricane is imminent. You need to know the difference between a Hurricane Watch and Hurricane Warning. In the event of an evacuation, be prepared to bring essential items from the Evacuation Checklist.

Hurricane Watch

Have your hurricane resources in hand and be ready to act in case a warning is issued. We recommend the following preparations when a hurricane watch is issued:

  • Contact your trash and recycling provider and arrange a pickup of garbage prior to and/or arrange priority pickup after the storm.
  • Forward business phone lines to an alternate or corporate number.
  • Contact your security company and review security procedures contracted for both pre- and post-storm.
  • Essential staff members should report to the property as soon as a hurricane watch has been announced.
  • Review your Disaster Supply List
  • Update and redistribute emergency phone lists to employees and establish a phone tree for employees to report their activities and get updates on the status of the business.
  • Contact any persons who may need evacuation assistance.

Hurricane Warning

Once a hurricane warning is issued, time will be of the essence and you may need to evacuate the area as instructed by your local authorities. Prepare everything as indicated above for a hurricane watch and we have outlined below additional guidelines should a hurricane warning be issued for your building and employees below.

  • Secure windows with plywood.
  • Sandbags exterior doors.
  • Reinforce doors for the office, shop, utility rooms and storage rooms.
  • Secure loose exterior items.
  • Inspect all roofs. Repair cracks, leaks, flashing and loose shingles.
  • If the building has a swimming pool, lower the pool depth, secure the pump room and turn off the pool pump.
  • Have branches near buildings removed.
  • Shut down elevators and secure cabs on the top floor.
  • Place files in waterproof containers labeled with the property name and address.
  • Store keys and key codes, money and securities in secure offsite locations. Maintain petty cash for authorized staff to use after the storm.
  • Move files from low file cabinet drawers to higher drawers. Lock the cabinets, strap them down and seal with tape.
  • Back up data and store offsite. Cover computers with waterproof bags and seal with tape.
  • Unplug all electrical cords and turn off circuit breakers.
  • Turn off gas lines.
  • Store images and videos of inventory and assets in the Cloud.
  • Instruct employees to charge all mobile phones, tablets and hand held-held radios and to keep the devices in their possession.
  • Communicate critical information about the storm's progress and safe evacuation routes to employees using all appropriate channels, including text, office address system, phone, push notifications, social media and email.
  • Assist all staff, especially those with disabilities and special needs, to move to designated safe-sheltering areas.

Filing a Claim after a Hurricane

You may have suffered damage as a result of a hurricane. As a valued client of Gallagher, we are here to support you through the insurance claims process. Once you are safely back in your area, the best way to notify your claim handler of a claim is immediately report it. Examine your property and complete your Preliminary Damage Assessment Report with pictures or video of the damage and property, a facility inspection and inspection to the foundations for cracks and other significant damage. You may also bring your Business Interruption and Extra Expense Claims list to determine potential coverage and business impact.

It is important that your claim handler receive this information as quickly as possible. Please remember that it's imperative to maintain an up-to-date Policy and Claim Reporting Information Directory, should such an event occur. Secure your location(s) to prevent further loss and begin to sort damaged items from undamaged items.

Claims Reporting Reference Guide

Coverage FAQs and forms to help your claims process.

Download Claims Guide

Find your Insurance Carrier

Use our Commercial Claims Contact List to find phone numbers and email addresses of your insurance carrier.

View Claims Contacts

Starting an Insurance Claim

In order for a claim to be initiated and an investigation to being, the claim handler must have as much detail as possible. The following is recommended:

Claims Process for Insurance: What to expect

Throughout the claim investigation process, you may have various coverage-related questions. Your Gallagher representative will be available to answer your specific policy and claim questions. During this high volume claim reporting period, you should anticipate the following:

  • The adjuster assignment and initial contact may take some time. Some insurers may use adjusters under contract, so the adjuster's contact information may appear different than expected.
  • Limited access to affected areas. It's not uncommon to have standing water that becomes polluted.
  • Competition for labor and materials will be high, which could impact the timeframe and costs associated with repair and remediation.
  • Working with your adjuster closely. If you have questions regarding the resolution process, your Gallagher representative is here to assist and ensure you are in control of the claim progress.

Your policy and insurance company's website will contain important information about how to handle claims and manage losses. To summarize your policy details, you can use our Policy and Claim Reporting Information Directory.