on August 21, 2014 by admin in Insurance Industry, Comments (0)

Insurance industry tours down Texas coast to promote hurricane preparedness

Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 10:39 am

Representatives from the insurance industry are touring along the Texas coast, educating residents on preparedness, and insurance coverage, for future hurricanes.

Mark Hanna, manager of public relations and membership for the Insurance Council of Texas, Manuel Villarreal, Texas Windstorm Insurance Association ombudsman for the Texas Department of Insurance, and Roger Erickson, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service, met up with Jim McNeill, of McNeill Insurance Agency in Nederland, at The Port Arthur News, Monday, as part of a five-day, 1,000-mile, 49-media stop tour.

“This is our ninth tour, trying to educate the public,” Hanna said. “I think out of all the residents we reach, Port Arthur and Beaumont probably know the most about their insurance policies and how to prepare for a hurricane. But that’s because this area has had to be so experienced in it.

“Hurricane Ike in 2008 and Hurricane Rita in 2005 are the No. 1 and No. 3 costliest Texas storms. Ike cost $12 billion in insured losses, and Rita cost $2.8 billion. When you look at the pattern of storms — just where they’ve landed — along the coast since 1957, Jefferson, Chambers and Galveston counties see the most hurricane action.”

Hanna said that just because Southeast Texas residents are familiar with hurricane preparedness and losses, that doesn’t mean we should stop questioning our policies.

“The biggest thing to look at is that there is no such thing as ‘hurricane coverage.’ That means you need different insurance policies to cover your home and your belongings against the different aspects of the storm,” he said. “A lot of people get with one insurance agent and they stay with them and that company their whole life. But knowledge is power, and if you live along the Texas coast, it wouldn’t hurt to shop around.”

Erickson said that hurricane seasonal forecasting is not ideal, because it only takes one local storm for it to be a bad year.

“We always tell people to focus on the day-to-day forecast,” he said. “Many times there will be a weak low pressure system sitting out in the Gulf of Mexico after a cold front, and that weak pressure is the perfect cooker for forming storms out in the gulf.

“We tell people that it’s not the storms coming up from the coast of Africa — the ones you can watch on the news for weeks at a time — that they need to worry about. It’s the ones that can form in less than 24 hours out in the gulf, that show up with almost no warning.

“It happened with Hurricane Humberto in 2007, and it could happen again, especially after we’ve had so many unusual cold fronts come through this summer. That’s why people need to watch the day-to-day forecast and stay prepared throughout the year. By doing that, people will be ready if an evacuation is ordered with little-to-no warning.”

Hanna said the team starts their media tour in Beaumont and Port Arthur, working their way down the coast until they reach Brownsville. They plan to reach three million Texas coastal residents this year.

Email: chenderson@panews.com

Twitter: @crhenderson90

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Article source: http://www.orangeleader.com/news/local_news/article_30c0198a-2880-11e4-a6cb-0019bb2963f4.html

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