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Tropical Storm Hazards: How to Deal with Them

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) defines tropical cyclone as a non-frontal storm system that has low pressure center, spiral rain bands and strong winds. To distinguish the disaster types from one another, meteorologists refer to storms depending on their locations:

  • Cyclone – Indian Ocean and South Pacific
  • Hurricane – Western Atlantic and Eastern Pacific
  • Typhoon – Western Pacific

These disasters generally cause a wider range of destruction than floods. A noteworthy fact is that safety measures can be observed since their occurrence can be predicted several days in advance.

The National Weather Service has identified the key hazards from tropical cyclones:

  • Storm surge flooding – the abnormal rise of water resulting from storm’s winds
  • Inland flooding from heavy rains
  • Destructive winds that can put down buildings and manufactured homes
  • Tornadoes
  • High surf and rip currents – can damage structures along the coastline from as far as 1,000 miles offshore

Here are some tips to protect yourself, your family and your property from these hazards:

  • Have an escape route in case there is a need to evacuate.
  • Prepare a disaster supplies kit that contains the following

Image source: Weather Underground

  • Listen to local authorities and follow their advice, however unreasonable it may first sound. Heed all warnings. They are in the best position to do so.
  • Stay away from windows or glass areas.
  • Secure the walls, roof and eaves of your home.
  • Unless instructed or forced to evacuate, remain indoors and stay in the strongest part of the house/building.

If you have properties along the coastline, one of the most effective ways to protect them from these natural phenomena is getting the right insurance.

Whitehaven commits to resolve any issues during these catastrophic events as they have expertise when it comes to the current insurance conditions along the Gulf Coast. You may probably have been aware of the risks when you decided to purchase that property. Through proper management and an open mind, you are on your way of getting over the stress caused by such potential risks.

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Protecting Your Home from Intruders

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program defines burglary as the unlawful entry of a residence or structure (garage or shed) by an individual or group of individuals, whose intention in most cases is to commit a felony or theft. As long as the person who entered the property had no legal right to be present in the property, a burglary can be already established.

Image source: Burglary Lawyer

FBI statistics show that the estimated number of burglaries in 2015 accounted for 19.8 percent of the calculated number of property crimes. Burglaries of residential properties made up the 71.6 percent of all burglary offenses. These figures enough justify the need for homes to be better protected, especially if they are located in high-risk areas.

Burglary can be classified into four types:

  1. Completed burglary. A successful unlawful entry achieved with or without force
  2. Forcible entry. A successful burglary in which force is used to gain entry to a property.
  3. Unlawful entry without force. A form of completed burglary in which no force is used.
  4. Attempted forcible entry. Force is used in an attempt to enter a structure.

There are initial steps that a homeowner can take to prevent burglary:

  • Install an alarm system. Consider asking your provider to deliver a fast response time or to automatically notify the police once an alarm event occurs.
  • Install security cameras. Outdoor security cameras with night vision are recommended and a hard drive that can record a few days worth of video.
  • Invest in strong window and door locks.
  • Leave the lights on especially if you plan on going on a vacation for long periods of time.
  • Protect your valuables by placing them in safety vaults.
  • Households who own dogs are less likely to attract burglars. Keep in mind though, that owning dogs should not be solely due to guarding against burglary.
  • Ensure that your mails and other deliveries are properly monitored and kept away from the prying eyes of burglars.

Finally, you may also opt to purchase a burglary or crime insurance, which covers the property against loss or damage in the event of a house break. You may want to keep a documented list of your personal and valuable belongings as insurance companies usually require documented proof of ownership to avoid possible fraudulent claims.

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Alabama Boating Laws and Regulations: An Overview

In Alabama and several other US states, any individual aged 12 and older who intends to operate a motorized boat needs to seek education. Those who are between 12 and 13 years need to be supervised by another person who is at least 21 years of age and capable of taking immediate control of the boat if necessary. Do note that completing a boating course is different from actually having a boating license.

Operators who meet any of the following criteria need not get a boating certification:

  • With a legal US Coast Guard Motorboat Operator’s License
  • Successfully accomplished a safe boating course approved by the ALEA Marine Police Division or a similar course offered by US Power Squadrons or the US Coast Guard Auxiliary
  • Aged 40 years or older as of April 28, 1994.

You need to register a boat within 72 hours after its purchase. Most powered watercraft (sailboats, mechanically propelled vessels, rental boats) must be registered in Alabama, except for the following:

  • Non-motorized boats
  • Boat trailers
  • Are registered and kept in another state (Note: Boats are allowed to operate for 90 days or less.)
  • With temporary certificates of number
  • Registered in another country and just temporarily operating in Alabama
  • A ship’s lifeboats
  • Owned by a government entity/agency
  • Have a commercial documentation with the US Coast Guard

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) also provides boat certification to ensure adherence to the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) standards. Around 90% of boats are built to ABYC Standards.

A boat safety course is usually taken by operators to save on their personal watercraft (PWC) or boat insurance. Insurance companies acknowledge the less likelihood of filing a claim for those who have taken the effort to commit to safety education and thus are open to lowering boat insurance rates. To guarantee the best possible premiums, consult with your insurance agent first before signing up.

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

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Tropical Storm & Hurricane Preparations for Condominium Associations

 

TROPICAL STORM / HURRICANE PREPARATION

CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATIONS

 

  • Provide Whitehaven with the name of the current insurance contact representing your association. (Name, Phone Numbers, and E-mail Address)
  • If you have a catastrophe contract with a general contractor contact them to assist you in securing your property when and if it becomes necessary.
  • Place loose unsecured items inside the building or storage unit. (Pool/Patio Furniture, Trash Cans, Signs etc.)
  • Place loose unsecured private property inside the individual units. (Patio Furniture, Plants, Door Mats etc.)
  • Raise elevators to the highest floor and shut down power.
  • Protect glass doors and windows with storm shutters or plywood if possible.

 

POST STORM

 

  • Contact Whitehaven to report damage. (Phone Numbers provided below)
  • Go ahead and make repairs to prevent further damage. (Make sure to take plenty of pictures and keep all receipts for the adjuster so you can include the temporary repair expenses in your claim)
  • Do not make permanent repairs until an insurance adjuster sees the property and advises you on what steps to take.
  • Provide the adjuster with current contact information of the insurance contact representing your association. (Name, Phone Numbers, and E-mail Address) This will allow the adjuster to work with one person from the association which will prevent confusion and help expedite the claim.

WHITEHAVEN CONTACT INFORMATION

 

www.whitehaveninsurance.com

 

Whitehaven Insurance Gulf Shores Office                  (251) 967-3323

Whitehaven Insurance Atlanta Office                          (770) 267-3323

Please report claims to the office numbers or through our website

 

 

EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION

 

Name                        E-mail Address                                                       Direct Line**

 

Lance Alexander         lance.alexander@whitehaveninsurance.com            (251) 967-1107

Debbie Gibson             debbie.gibson@whitehaveninsurance.com               (251) 968-3407

Cindy Gooch                cindy.gooch@whitehaveninsurance.com                  (251) 967-3426

Scott Harris                 scott.harris@whitehaveninsurance.com                   (251) 967-3425

Dora Hartsock             dora.hartsock@whitehaveninsurance.com               (251) 967-5206

Kelly Henderson          kelly.henderson@whitehaveninsurance.com            (251) 968-3404

John Sadlis                  john.sadlis@whitehaveninsurance.com                     (251) 424-1758

Barbara Schillace        barbara.schillace@whitehaveninsurance.com          (251) 968-3406

Crystal Sizemore         crystal.sizemore@whitehaveninsurance.com           (251) 967-1079

Debbie Walters           debbie.walters@whitehaveninsurance.com              (251) 968-3406

Bruce White                bruce.white@whitehaveninsurance.com                   (770) 267-3323

 

**Direct lines are transferred to the agent’s cell phone

 

 

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Car Insurance and Watercraft Insurance: How Do They Differ?

Boating is a recreational activity mainly done by the middle-class and has always been associated with adventure, bonding, and fun. According to the 2014 National Marine Manufacturers Association data, 35.7% of the US population, equivalent to 87.3 million Americans, participated in recreational boating at least once in 2014. With the enjoyment of such hobby comes the responsibility of protecting the vessel. A basic knowledge of what differentiate watercraft insurance from car insurance will help you decide the type of insurance you need for your boat:

Image source: The Watercraft Journal

  1. Car insurance protects the vehicle for its market value regardless of what is involved in the loss. On the other hand, mort watercraft insurance policies offer a predetermined and agreed value regardless of depreciation on the vessel. Thus, you will get payment for the cost of the boat at the time of purchase.
  2. Insurance for boats can be put on hold, unlike cars which need to be insured as long as they are registered under the owner’s name. This saves money especially if you rarely use your boat. Just remember not to take your boat out when it is not covered during that month.
  3. There are areas that restrict entry of boats and thus will not be included in your coverage. Make sure that you are aware where these areas are.
  4. Except for New Hampshire, all states have ordained mandatory car insurance liability laws. In fact, it is considered illegal in 50 states to drive without the proper car insurance. Though not mandatory, insurance for pleasure boats is usually required if you have a loan using the vessel as collateral. Some marinas also require liability insurance.

To save money on watercraft insurance, follow these tips:

  1. Shop around and get specific with your needs.
  2. Avail of policy discounts on safety features.
  3. Enroll yourself in a boating class. Having a certification can offer savings on your policy.
  4. Stretch out your lay-up period. Insurers can cut your premium if there are specific months that you will not use the boat.
  5. Finally, deal with an insurer that is capable of offering effective options specific to your needs. Whitehaven Insurance can deliver that for you. Get a quote now and enjoy a worry-free adventure the next time you are out on the waters.