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Advance Preparations Can Save Lives; PCI Urges Consumers to be Ready for Severe Weather

Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 2-8, 2014

When severe weather occurs you may only have minutes to take cover, as a result being prepared to act quickly could be a matter of survival, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).

As one of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors PCI is proud to support National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 2-8, 2014. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and NOAA, National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is a nationwide effort designed to increase awareness of the severe weather that affects everyone and to encourage individuals, families businesses and communities to know their risk, take action, and be an example.

“In addition to having an emergency response plan and storm kit, being prepared means homeowners, renters and business owners should conduct a review of their insurance policies and discuss coverage options with their insurance agent or company, said Chris Hackett, PCI director of personal lines. “The financial impact of severe weather can be devastating for a family or business that is not adequately prepared. In 2013, severe thunderstorms across the U.S. resulted in more than $10 billion in insured losses. The insurance industry pumped more than $2 billion into the Oklahoma City area to help jump start the rebuilding process following two massive tornado outbreaks in May. Severe weather knows no boundaries and affects every state, so we encourage individuals, families and businesses to use this week as an opportunity to become better prepared physically as well as financially for severe weather threats.”

PCI is committed to educating consumers about their insurance coverage and provides tips and resources about coverage related to severe weather:

Pre-Storm Insurance Tips:

· Conduct a detailed inventory of your possessions including receipts, descriptions and photos of your home's contents.

· Keep your insurance policy and agent information along with other important information with you or in a secure place.

· Keep a cell phone charged and with you for emergencies.

· If you have one, keep a laptop computer close by. Most insurance companies allow claims reports to be submitted via the Internet.

Tips If You Experienced a Loss:

· Immediately contact your insurance agent or company representative

· Inspect property and cars for damage

· Inventory losses and photograph damage, and save related receipts to assist with claims handling

· Secure property from further damage or theft

· Check the background and legitimacy of repair contractors. Ask your insurance company for assistance in locating a reputable contractor.

· Keep detailed records of business activity and extra expenses during the interruption period, and prepare records to show the income from the business both before and after the loss.

Steps to be Better Prepared to Save Your Life and Assist in Saving Others:

· Know Your Risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.

· Take Action: Before storms strike, develop a family communication plan, create or purchase an emergency supplies kit, and participate in a local event on April 30 through America’s PrepareAthon.

· Be an Example: Share your preparedness story with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. Letting others know that you’re prepared will prompt them to prepare as well. Studies show that many people use social media in the event of a disaster to let relatives and friends know they are safe. This is an important trend because people are most likely to take preparedness steps if they observe the preparations taken by others. Social media provides the perfect platform to model preparedness actions for others.

Information on the different types of severe weather such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flooding is available at www.weather.gov and www.ready.gov/severe-weather or the Spanish-language web site www.listo.gov.

PCI is composed of more than 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross-section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write over $195 billion in annual premium, 39 percent of the nation’s property casualty insurance. Member companies write 46 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 32 percent of the homeowners market, 37 percent of the commercial property and liability market, and 41 percent of the private workers compensation market.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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