Hurricane Season: Preparation & Post-Event Considerations

Hurricane Season is underway and will remain in effect until November 30th of this year. Is your organization prepared? Are your clients? Do you know what to expect? Do they?

The US sustains about 8 disastrous weather events per year with an average price tag of about $1B.  Hurricanes can have a devastating impact on organizations and businesses of all sizes. Employees’ safety is at risk, assets are vulnerable, and business can be disrupted or even shut down entirely. How can organizations mitigate the costs and risks of these weather events? In one word: preparation.

Although forecasters are predicting an average hurricane season, our experience has shown focusing on financial and contractual preparation – in addition to physical preparation- regardless of the forecast can help to ease your recovery and make the FEMA claim process run smoother in the wake of any hurricane event.

Pre-Event Financial & Contractual Preparation Measures

While the list below is certainly not an exhaustive list, here are some of the top hurricane preparation measures to consider:

  • Establishment of procurement policies in accordance with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidelines.
  • Emergency response vendor services procurement
    • Possible services needed include debris removal, emergency power, property remediation and restoration, etc. 
  • Inclusion of certain provisions within federally funded projects 
  • Emergency cash on hand.
  • Property insurance policy review 
    • Common questions to consider during your review :
      • Are your property policies valid and in force?
      • Do your property policies provide wind and flood coverage for all assets within your portfolio in the area of exposure? 
      • How much coverage will be available to you in the event of a loss?
      • What is your deductible structure? Are there any special deductibles that could apply?
      • Does your policy provide replacement cost coverage? How is that calculated?
      • Do your policy offer coverage if you need to bring your property up to current building codes, etc.?

Post-Event Considerations  

Here are some of the top post-event items to consider:

  • Federal declaration tracking
    • Determine if your county or parish is eligible for FEMA Public Assistance 
  • Emergency clean up tracking
    • Debris removal and protective measures placement for public safety 
    • In-house hours and contract labor/invoices
    • Specific financial coding for storm-related charges 
  • Insurance 
    • Claims
      • Place broker/agent and/or carrier on notice as soon as possible.
      • Provide requested property access, information, and documentation on a timely basis.
      • Enlist the services of a third party to assist with claim preparation for larger, more complex losses. Coverage for fees may be included in your property policy.
  • Be familiar with the Small Business Administration (SBA)/other grant funding opportunities

BDO is here to help with our team of professionals having worked on some of the largest catastrophic events in recent history including Hurricanes Ian, Irma, Maria, Matthew, Harvey, Sandy and Katrina. If you do have to go through the recovery process, please know that we stand ready to support you and your community. 

BDO is there for you when you need us. In crisis, we are relentless in our pursuit of the facts and in our commitment to helping you reach a fair outcome. And following a crisis, we strive to position you for the next crisis, disruption or dispute while positioning you for longer term resilience.  Contact us for an assessment of your current preparation efforts and insight on how to mitigate the costs of future weather events.