Hurricane Prep List: Is Your High-Net-Worth Home Ready for Next Storm?

As Hurricane Irma approached Florida, a Miami attorney moved a prized art collection to the second floor of his home, hoping to minimize water damage from what seemed like an imminent storm surge. Even though the hurricane took a different path, its winds tore a hole in the roof and piled sand some three-feet high around the home. After the attorney filed a claim, the insurer sent an art preservationist and a team to move the collection out of the home and safely away from the threatening hot, humid conditions. Had the attorney called before Irma reached land, the insurer would have relocated the art at no charge.

While hurricanes, generate headlines, the water damage they leave in their wakes is the clear threat to affluent individuals and their prized valuables. Not only is water damage the most frequent cause of loss for wealthy homeowners, but it is also the costliest. As more insurance carriers start to buckle down on underwriting guidelines and what risks they are willing to take, hurricane preparedness takes on added emphasis for high-net-worth homeowners.

Changing weather patterns are posing new challenges to agents who coverage to high-net-worth individuals and their families, said Charlie Graham, a national HNW Business Development Executive at Orchid Insurance, which provides access to the industry’s leading affluent personal lines insurers, such as Chubb, AIG, Vault, and National General Premier, while streamlining agent operations to underwrite the sought-after coverages their clients need.

“Million-dollar homes are likely to house far more expensive possessions than what the dwelling is worth,” said Graham. “The trick is for agents to ensure their high-net-worth clients have a resilient insurance policy in place to cover both the home and those excess exposures in the event of a weather-related catastrophe, like a hurricane or flood.”

Looking Ahead

Graham said, during hurricane season, it is imperative for agents to recommend ways in which their high-net-worth clients can make their homes, yachts, wine collections and prized possessions more resilient to stand up to the impact of a storm.

“If a client experienced wind or water damage in the past few months, an agent has the obligation to identify what he or she can do to prevent additional occurrences?” said Graham. “Even if a client was lucky enough to escape last year’s record-breaking hurricane season relatively unscathed, what risk mitigation tactics can be implemented to make a property less vulnerable in the future? A successful agent will review a client’s current policy with him or her and prevent against any possible financial losses.”

Weather forecasters have begun to predict an above-average level of tropical cyclone activity during the 2021 hurricane season, which begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. Already, researchers at the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, anticipate 17 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes during the 2021 season. A typical year has 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

Although affluent property owners have higher-value property and assets to protect, some of the most-simplest adjustments can have a significant impact on protection and be well worth the investment. Orchid Insurance encourages property owners to prepare now. By following Orchid’s hurricane prep list, high-net-worth homeowners can protect themselves and their families in the event of a storm, limit wind and water damage to their homes and ensure they are reimbursed for anything lost:

Making an Insurance Claim

  • Document any property damage with photographs or videos.
  • Contact your insurance agent or insurer as soon as you can. Provide a general description of the damage and have your policy number handy if possible. Write down the adjuster’s name, phone number and work schedule as soon as you have them.
  • Prepare a list of damaged or lost items for your adjuster.
  • If you need to relocate, keep records and receipts for all additional expenses. Most insurance policies cover emergency living arrangements.
  • After your insurance company has been notified of your claim, they must send you the necessary claim forms within a certain number of days (time periods varies by state). Fill out and return the forms as soon as possible. If you do not understand the process, be sure to ask questions and write down the explanation.

Orchid Insurance accesses the industry’s leading providers of admitted specialty high net worth insurance including Chubb, AIG, Vault, and National General Premier to streamline agent and broker operations and underwrite the sought-after coverages that your client needs. Make no mistake about it: Orchid Insurance is the First Choice for your high-net-worth solutions.