QBE North America Provides Tips to Help Businesses Prepare for Hurricane Season
NEW YORK, NY, May 17, 2023— The official start of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1 serves as an important reminder for businesses to ensure they are prepared for severe storms. This year, the hurricane experts at Colorado State University have predicted 13 named storms and six hurricanes — two of which will be Category 3 (winds 111 to 130 mph) or higher. To help businesses guard against the risk, insurance leader QBE North America is offering tips for protecting employees, property, and assets.
“Preparing for hurricanes and other types of severe storms is not just a good idea, it’s a necessity,” said Monique McQueen, Vice President of Property Claims at QBE North America. “Besides bringing high winds, storms are dropping more rain and causing more water damage. Hurricanes like Ida in 2021, which traveled from Louisiana up through New England, can have a significant impact well beyond coastal areas traditionally considered most at risk. Businesses must take the initiative to mitigate the losses associated with these natural disasters.”
Companies should be sure to have a disaster response and business continuity plan that is up to date and shared with key staff at least annually. As part of the plan, QBE suggests the following actions to help businesses prepare their employees and property prior to hurricane season:
- People. Employee safety is the top concern. Businesses should have formalized procedures for communicating with and protecting all workers during both response and restoration periods. Stock up on and store essential items ahead of time such as PPE, disinfectants, water, food items, batteries, first aid kits, and medications.
- Property. Evaluate each piece of rooftop equipment to determine the current condition and adequacy of rooftop securement. Make sure employees know how to turn off water, gas, and other utilities when necessary, and conduct proper facilities training so multiple people can be called on in a crisis, if needed, especially those located near the business. Use a storage facility for equipment and materials to help with emergency repairs such as chainsaws, pumps, fuel for generators, and plywood. Importantly, check that insurance coverage amounts reflect current costs for rebuilding and replacing property. High inflation and ongoing labor shortages in construction have caused rebuilding costs to rise as much as 8% in the last 12 months.
- Records. Gather contact information for external parties that are crucial to business operations, such as bankers, lawyers, accountants, and suppliers. Ensure contracts with customers and suppliers are up to date and include appropriate provisions for risk transfer and proof of insurance. Save this information in an alternate and accessible off-site location.
- Inventory. Have an up-to-date inventory of what is in your offices and facilities, including products and assets, as well as current financials. Keep in mind physical records can easily get destroyed so have a backup elsewhere.
- Power. Have a plan in place if there is a loss in power. Make sure generators are on hand and employees know how to use them safely. Companies should be prepared for longer-than-usual power outages.
“After a storm hits, businesses can feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next – especially in the face of any accidents or losses,” said Ted Cabaniss, Lead Risk Control Consultant, QBE North America. “Checking in with your broker or insurer on a regular basis is key to understanding your coverages and ensuring a smooth claims process during these turbulent times.”
QBE Risk Solutions offers a variety of tools and tips to help their insureds plan for disasters. Additionally, there are several useful resources to assist with hurricane preparedness planning, including The Ready Business Hurricane Toolkit from FEMA.
QBE North America’s Risk Solutions teams are experts in risk and delivering loss prevention and loss protection services. Their focused commitment to service and technical acumen helps customers identify, evaluate, and reduce their potential for losses and business risk. By getting to know their customers, their business operations, priorities, and concerns, they can help deliver the best possible outcomes.
QBE North America is a global insurance leader helping customers solve unique risks, so they can stay focused on their future. Part of QBE Insurance Group Limited, QBE North America reported Gross Written Premiums in 2022 of $7.27 billion. QBE Insurance Group’s results can be found at qbe.com. Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, QBE operates out of 27 countries around the globe, with a presence in every key insurance market. The North America division, headquartered in New York, conducts business primarily through its insurance company subsidiaries. The actual terms and conditions of any insurance coverage are subject to the language of the policies as issued. QBE insurance companies are rated “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best and “A+” by Standard & Poor’s. Additional information can be found at qbe.com/us or follow QBE North America on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Media Contact: Peter Scott; Peter.Scott@us.qbe.com
QBE makes no warranty, representation, or guarantee regarding the information herein or the suitability of these suggestions or information for any particular purpose. QBE hereby disclaims any and all liability concerning the information contained herein and the suggestions herein made. Moreover, it cannot be assumed that every acceptable risk transfer procedure is contained herein or that unusual or abnormal circumstances may not warrant or require further or additional risk transfer policies and/or procedures. The use of any of the information or suggestions described herein does not amend, modify, or supplement any insurance policy. Consult the actual policy or your agent for details about your coverage. QBE and the links logo are registered service marks of QBE Insurance Group Limited. © 2023 QBE Holdings, Inc.