National Hurricane Preparedness Week and what PIA is doing for you 

May 3, 2024

It is National Hurricane Preparedness Week (May 5-11, 2024) and with the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season set to be “very active,” now is the time to make sure you and your insureds are prepared for the next few months.  

Also, be sure to keep in mind what PIA Northeast has been doing to make this season easier on independent agents and their clients. 

Disaster preparation 

The Atlantic hurricane season lasts for several months, officially beginning on June 1 and ending on Nov. 30. This year, it is forecasted that “23 named storms, 11 hurricanes and five major hurricanes” will emerge. For comparison, last year saw 20 named storms with seven hurricanes, four of which became major hurricanes. 

In 2023, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration issued five helpful steps that people can take to protect themselves from hurricanes. Agents and insureds should keep them in mind to stay safe. 

These steps are as follows: 

  1. Develop a plan to maintain communication with your family, loved ones, or other members of your household. 
  2. Network in your community to spread disaster preparation awareness and to offer/receive assistance after the storm. 
  3. Build an emergency preparedness kit that includes: first aid/medicine, flashlights, food and water that can last for several days and a hand crank/battery powered radio. 
  4. Reinforce your home by removing weak branches and trees, clearing your yard, and covering windows and doors with storm shutters or nails and plywood. 
  5. Prepare your vehicle by filling it with gas and stocking it with an emergency kit. In instances in which you need to shelter in place, move your vehicle in your garage or under cover. 

Your insureds should be encouraged to take these precautions if they are able to, as it will lessen the burden during the recovery phase after a hurricane. 

Triple-I also offers a helpful guide to prepare for this season, ranging from updating your coverage to protecting your possesions.

PIA testifies on extreme weather 

PIA Northeast also has been making legislative moves to protect insurance consumers and business owners from extreme weather. Just last fall, PIANY Director of Government & Industry Affairs Bradford J. Lachut, Esq, along with other industry representatives, testified to the New York state Assembly about extreme weather and its impact on the property/casualty insurance market. 

Lachut testified to the importance of implementing “green infrastructure” to ease the burden on water drainage systems to keep pace with increased rainfall, “encouraging property resiliency activities” and passing legislation (A.2866/S.4199) that would create a standardized windstorm definition. 

These are just some of the actions that PIA Northeast has taken to create a better insurance industry for consumers and independent agents. Extreme weather can pose a threat to anyone, so it is important that the insurance industry keeps pace with it to protect everyone

The PIA-backed windstorm bill passes N.Y. state Assembly 

For years, PIANY has advocated for a standard definition for a “windstorm” in the New York insurance market. Currently, the New York State Department of Financial Services has over a hundred definitions for what constitutes a windstorm. 

This is extremely troublesome, especially when you consider the financial burden placed on some insurance consumers. If a storm were to blow through a neighborhood, two people whose homes were comparably damaged may have to pay completely different deductibles based on their coverage, and how their homeowners policies define a windstorm. 

For instance, one homeowner may only have to pay the standard deductible for damages to his or her home, which is usually $1,000. However, the other homeowner’s damages would meet the threshold for what constitutes a windstorm and would have to pay the hurricane windstorm deductible, which is often 5% of the home’s replacement cost. This could cost tens of thousands of dollars: if the owner’s home is worth $500,000, his or her deductible would be $25,000. 

The most recent attempt to get windstorm legislation signed into law was marked by the New York state Assembly passing A.2866 on March 18, 2024. Currently, it is sitting in committee in the state Senate, making now the time to push for it and have it reach the governor’s desk. 

The insurance industry and climate change 

Climate change is the long-term shift in global temperatures, and anthropogenic climate change is that phenomenon spurred by human actions. The burning of fossil fuels is the primary driver of climate change since the Industrial Revolution. As they burn, they release carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. These greenhouse gasses (which also include methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gasses) trap heat in the atmosphere, warming the planet. 

Our planet’s warming temperatures are set to have dramatic impacts across globe, changing or exacerbating the weather patterns of countless regions. Of course, this includes the growing frequency and intensity of hurricanes.  

Resources for PIA members 

If you are interested in reading a deep dive into how the insurance industry is being affected by climate change and vice versa, PIA Northeast members can access Background on: climate change and insurance issues, which can be found in the PIA QuickSource library. 

PIA’s Hurricane Info Central tool kit offers PIA Northeast members one spot for all their hurricane-related resource needs. PIA members also can contact the PIA Industry Resource Center at resourcecenter@pia.org or use the Ask PIA button on the PIA home page to ask a specific question. 

Get involved and shape your industry 

Advocacy and protection are two of our four pillars for the foundation of PIA. We seek to advocate at the state and federal level so our members voices can be heard and to protect our insurance professionals so they can thrive in the industry. 

These efforts not only strengthen the role of the insurance industry and career as an insurance professional, but also protect consumers from practices that need to be reformed or dangers just out of view. 

If you want to get involved with PIANY’s legislative and advocacy work, there are many ways to engage with the association: 

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Matt McDonough is PIA Northeast's writer, editor and content curator. Matt joined PIA Northeast in September 2023. Before that, he had been an editor for the online entertainment magazine Collider from 2021-23 as a copy editor for its lists section. Matt entered the world of journalism at his alma mater, SUNY New Paltz, writing and reporting for the college's student run newspaper, The New Paltz Oracle. He graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Creative Writing in 2020.

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