5 Steps to Prepare for Hurricane CAT Claims

5 Steps to Prepare for Hurricane CAT Claims

By Dan Turpin | Published September 23, 2022

As originally published on PropertyCasuality360

Although the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season has been relatively quiet thus far, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) still predicted a 60% chance of an above-normal year in its revised forecast. Therefore, the time is now for insurance companies to prepare for the next landfalling catastrophe.

Post-hurricane, adjusters are ready to survey insurance costs. But depending on the storm’s severity, you may not access the disaster site for at least 24 hours — or up to four days post-hurricane. The damage you’ll survey will depend on when you access the site. No matter when you arrive on the scene, we recommend the following post-CAT protocol to maximize your efforts.

5 post-CAT steps for adjusters

Once an adjuster gets to a damaged facility, there are many variables to consider. The process ultimately boils down to these five steps.

  1. Go prepared. The CAT area may or may not have power. Getting food and water may be a challenge for a few days. Make sure you have a full tank of gas, ample water, extra USB cords, and back-up batteries, especially if you use electronic measuring or testing equipment.
  2. Contact your experts and vendors. Prior to arriving, find out if the people you need to collaborate with will be there. This includes vendors, equipment valuation, salvage companies, mitigation contractors and environmental testing companies. Ask about their availability and resources. By reaching out in advance, you’ll know the resources available and assess the damage faster.
  3. Assess and determine the damage. Once you’re at the CAT site, if the structure isn’t destroyed, determine how you can reduce the chance of additional damage. This may involve boarding up windows, putting tarps on parts of a building, adding security or constructing a fence around the structure. By doing so, you can build a plan to mitigate further risk.
  4. Determine the proper mitigation technique. At this point, you should have a good understanding of the damage. Now is the time to act on the mitigation plan. Determine what to remove versus what can be restored. For example, if the building has water, chances are you’ll need to move a lot of material due to bacteria growth. You wouldn’t bring in power and equipment to dry carpet you’ll eventually remove during the building process. Deciding what to dispose of and what to keep or restore ahead of time can conserve limited resources and prepare you to efficiently work with the mitigation contractor to start demolition.
  5. Choose your resources based on need and priority. Decide who is best to execute your mitigation plan. For instance, if one vendor will take three days to arrive and there is wet wood, consider the best course of action. Take matters into your own hands and move items to a dry area or hire another vendor that can arrive sooner. Have detailed conversations with the restoration contractor to assemble your ideal and backup teams, and get started as soon as possible.

Begin the rebuild estimate

You’ve implemented your plan, contacted your resources, and secured the building. Now the experts can complete the repair time estimates and budgets.

The time between completing mitigation and writing a rebuild estimate could take as many as 14 to 90 days. Beyond securing resources, other structural problems may arise. What if you find the drywall has structural damage, there is HVAC or electrical damage, or the asbestos reports come back positive? The project could take longer and become more involved. Because of each storm’s unpredictability, always expect the unexpected. That attitude, a good protocol and the right support will help prevent simple post-CAT tasks from becoming complicated disasters.

This information is intended for informational purposes only. Each restoration project has unique properties and must be evaluated individually by knowledgeable consultants. RMC Group is not liable for any loss or damage arising out of or in connection with the use of this information.