It has been 10 years since the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season shattered every existing record to become the most active season in history. The devastation was widespread and included over 2,000 confirmed deaths and damage estimated at $159.2 billion. Of the storms that made landfall that year, most Americans can name three: Katrina, Rita and Wilma. All became Category 5 hurricanes that devastated the Gulf Coast and Atlantic coastline. Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma still stand as the costliest and most intense Atlantic hurricanes on record, respectively.
Recent Atlantic hurricane seasons have been calmer by comparison. The 2015 season extends from June 1st through November 30th, and it is predicted to maintain the current pattern of below-average activity. Recent predictions by the respected Colorado State University forecasters Dr. Philip Klotzbach and Dr. William Gray estimate the probability of a major hurricane landfall on the U.S. East Coast (including Florida) or Gulf Coast at only 15 percent.
While the lower level of hurricane activity in recent years has been a benefit for self-storage operators and insurance companies, there is a risk that property owners may have become complacent about the possibility of storm-related damage and the impact it could have on business operations. Survey data supports this speculation. In a recent Mason-Dixon poll of Florida residents, 60 percent responded that the potential for a hurricane to make landfall in the state in 2015 is “not too likely” or “not likely at all.”
Review Your Insurance Coverages
It is critically important that business owners maintain the necessary insurance coverages in the event of a hurricane or other severe storm. It is highly recommended that you review your policies with your agent to discuss how they will respond specifically to a catastrophic wind event. The review would include key coverage areas such as building values, deductibles and business interruption coverage.
Be Prepared And Make A Plan
In addition to insurance coverage, self-storage operators should take the necessary steps to prepare for extreme weather to include creating and maintaining an emergency preparedness plan as part of the facility’s overall written risk management plan. Liberty Mutual Insurance, one of MiniCo’s carriers, has prepared a detailed hurricane and tropical storm action plan that you may download at www.minico.com/hurricaneplan. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers many valuable online resources for business owners at www.ready.gov/business including insurance coverage review forms, checklists, communication plans, and other preparedness documents. Implementing a hurricane disaster plan is an important element of your risk management strategy and a valuable step to help protect your employees, tenants and business investment.
President and CEO