Commissioner Donelon Urges Property Owners to Be Prepared For Peak of Atlantic Hurricane Season
Louisiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon urges property owners to remain alert and prepared as we enter into the peak of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season.
Last week, forecasters at the Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project released the findings of their 2011 U.S. Landfalling Hurricane Probability Project in which they gave Louisiana a 45 percent probability of hurricane landfall this hurricane season. Their updated forecast calls for an even more active season than previously predicted with 16 named storms, nine hurricanes with five of those being major hurricanes. Forecasters cite that the increase in activity is due to above-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic, unusually low sea level pressure anomalies and the absence of La Nina or El Nino.
“Louisiana citizens should not become relaxed because we have experienced a relatively calm hurricane season so far,” said Commissioner Donelon. “August through October are the most active months of the hurricane season and forecasters are saying conditions favor a high degree of storm activity.”
Commissioner Donelon wants Louisiana citizens to keep these points in mind as we approach the peak of the hurricane season:
- Always heed evacuation warnings. Plan an evacuation route and ask someone out of state to be your “family contact” in an emergency.
- Purchase flood insurance. Standard homeowners insurance does not typically cover flood damage and properties that are not located in high-risk areas can also flood. Find out your flood risk by entering your address at www.FloodSmart.gov “Assess Your Risk.” Your insurance agent can also help you check your risk.
- Don’t delay in purchasing flood insurance. Don’t wait until there is an approaching storm to try to purchase a flood policy, there is a 30-day waiting period before a flood policy goes into effect.
- Know your coverages. Check with your producer to find out if there is a hurricane deductible written into your policy. For example, a two percent hurricane deductible would require you to pay up to two percent of the insured value of your home instead of the usual deductible you pay when you have other types of losses. Also be aware that companies stop writing property policies when storms approach the Gulf of Mexico.
- Inventory your assets. Thorough documentation of your belongings will help you file an insurance claim. For more information, visit www.knowyourstuff.org.
Another source of great tips on preparing for hurricanes is the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Emergency Preparedness’ “Get a Game Plan” Web site found at www.getagameplan.org.