Hurricane Irma is now a category five storm that is predicted to impact the state of Florida by late this week. As all community associations prepare their properties for the storm, they should also take specific measures to prepare for any insurance claims that may arise. Below is an excerpt from an article by firm partner Laura M. Manning-Hudson on these pre-storm insurance recommendations that was posted in this blog earlier this year:
At the start of every hurricane season, association board members or property management should photograph and/or video all of the main public areas of the condominium property. These images could become vitally important in the event that a storm strikes and claims are filed. Associations should also take the time to store copies of their wind, flood and property insurance policies in waterproof cases in a secure location. If possible, digital copies should also be stored in several computers and devices.
It is also good practice for associations to develop a hurricane policy and distribute it to residents each year reminding them of all the things they need to do to prepare for hurricane season, including ensuring that shutters are operational, moving all furniture inside before they leave for the summer, and taking pictures of their personal property to keep as record evidence in the case of a storm. Importantly, that hurricane policy should also include a reminder of the importance of maintaining their own homeowner’s insurance policies to cover their personal property within their units and their limited common elements. This communication may also be used to request updated owner and resident contact information, including cell phone numbers.
In the event of a loss, there could be a lot of work to be done, and it is advisable to consult with the association’s legal counsel and insurance consultants to assist in reporting and filing any necessary claims.