ATLANTA, Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Weeks after Superstorm Sandy slammed into the Jersey Shore, the storm has tested insurance crews – and taught lessons for homeowners and renters about protecting your home and belongings.
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Assurant Specialty Property, part of Fortune 500 company Assurant, began dispatching claims teams within hours of Sandy's arrival on Oct. 29. It was just the first wave in a comprehensive catastrophe response that will last for weeks, as the company helps its customers recover.
Sandy produced strong storm surges, severe flooding and wind damage across New York and New Jersey, as well as a massive fire in Queens and a freak snowstorm in the Appalachian region. Industry damage estimates are in the tens of billions of dollars.Assurant Specialty Property crews have logged thousands of damage claims from Sandy, and have been working seven days a week to assess damages and make payment arrangements. "This is what our people plan for and train for," said Gene Mergelmeyer, president and chief executive officer of Assurant Specialty Property. "In a very real sense, this is why we and any other insurance company are here: to assess damages and pay claims when people need us." As it has done in previous disasters, Assurant Specialty Property quickly began reaching out – contacting thousands of customers even before they called in. Early-arriving mobile teams provided assistance to more than 500 customers at their homes, beginning the claims process. Many others returned to their homes to find cards indicating that an Assurant first responder had already stopped by. Assurant has also reached out to help the region, including donations of $100,000 to the American Red Cross for emergency relief efforts, $25,000 to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, and $10,000 each to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and the Food Bank for New York City. According to insurance experts at Assurant Specialty Property, Sandy offers lessons for homeowners and renters alike:
- Consider flood insurance, especially if you live in a low-lying area or anywhere near a river or coast. Standard property insurance policies may not cover flooding.
- Keep a copy of your insurance information somewhere other than your house or car, such as an online file, or with a friend or relative. In an evacuation you may not remember to collect all the right info.
- Make sure your belongings are insured and you have enough coverage. If you do not own your home, or have an insurance policy that does not include contents, you can probably obtain separate coverage for your belongings at a reasonable price.