Staying safe: A Hurricane Harvey survival guide for claim adjusters

August 30, 2017Company News

When the floodwaters finally start to recede in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, hundreds if not thousands of insurance adjusters will be heading to Texas and surrounding areas to begin adjusting billions of dollars in losses.

If you happen to be or know an insurance pro that will be traveling to Texas, “safe” and “smart” are the watchwords. PropertyCasualty360’s article, “Staying safe: A Hurricane Harvey survival guide for claim adjusters” offers several practical tips to keep in mind:

A police officer checks an abandoned vehicle as the last of Hurricane Harvey passes the area, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Rockport, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Before you go to Texas

Areas affected by Hurricane Harvey will not have operating hotels, stores, banks, rental cars, restaurants or other services like electricity or clean running water. Issues to consider before traveling to Texas include:

  1. How will you travel to the impacted areas?
  2. Where will you stay and how far away will it be from the areas you need to reach?
  3. How will you travel around the area?
  4. What will you eat and drink while there?
  5. How will you charge any electronics?
  6. Will your cell phone or computers have service in the area?
  7. How will any curfews affect your ability to travel into some of the areas?
  8. Do you need permits to access different areas within the CAT zone?

    The roof of a gas station sits in flood waters in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Aransas Pass, Texas. Harvey rolled over the Texas Gulf Coast on Saturday, smashing homes and businesses and lashing the shore with wind and rain so intense that drivers were forced off the road because they could not see in front of them. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  9. What kind of support will your office be able to provide while you’re in Texas?
  10. How will you contact your policyholders?

Electricity will probably be out for weeks; water, gasoline, food and other essentials will be difficult to locate. Hotels in the hardest hit areas are damaged and can’t be used until they’ve been cleaned, restored or even rebuilt. Roads and bridges have been washed away, and street signs are gone with the wind. A GPS will only be able to take you so far because fallen trees and downed wires will be everywhere. Even flying into the area will be difficult since airports in the immediate vicinity are closed.

Prudent adjusters will be well-prepared for most eventualities, be cautious about entering buildings or examining vehicles, and not knowingly placing yourselves or colleagues in dangerous positions. Hurricanes provide insurers with a unique opportunity to help policyholders, but keeping adjusters safe should be a priority.