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Atlanta, U.S.A. — Hurricane Andrew caused an estimated $26 billion in damages, left more than 250,000 people homeless, destroyed 82,000 businesses and caused a reported 65 deaths two decades ago.
The 20th anniversary of that Category 5 event, one of the deadliest storms to hit U.S. soil, is a reminder of the mass destruction that can occur even during below-normal seasons. Hurricanes and tropical storms cause high winds, torrential rains and flooding that can stretch hundreds of miles away. With the 2012 hurricane season under way, it is critical to be prepared for such storms before they hit.
“The wrong time to be running to the supermarket and stocking up on supplies is when the meteorologist is predicting landfall in the next few hours,” said Gene Mergelmeyer, president and chief executive officer of Assurant Specialty Property. “Now is the time. Determine your evacuation plans, stock up on nonperishable items, check flashlights and develop a family disaster plan for the 2012 hurricane season.”
Families aren’t the only ones that need to be prepared this season. Businesses must get ready too. When Hurricane Andrew slammed into Miami-Dade County it demolished the interior and contents of an Assurant six-story building. While weather forecasting today is more precise than ever, Hurricane Andrew remains a powerful lesson on the need to always be prepared.
To prepare your family or business for Hurricane Season, keep in mind that you should:
While there may not be one single, standard insurance policy you can buy against hurricanes, home and business insurance may cover against wind damage. Supplemental wind/storm policies also may be available in hurricane areas. The greatest risk, however, often is from flooding and storm surge.
“Although flooding is the most common natural disaster in the U.S., many people are uninsured against this hazard and it is not covered in their policy,” said Mergelmeyer. “To protect yourself, consider obtaining flood insurance. Protection is available for homes, condominiums, apartments, commercial structures and even mobile homes.”
Flood insurance should be purchased well in advance of projected storms. Typically, there is a 30-day waiting period before purchased flood coverage becomes effective.
For more information on hurricane preparedness go to ready http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes.