BATON ROUGE, La.—If you had damage following Louisiana’s historic severe storms and floods, state and federal officials encourage you to monitor the insurance claims process after reporting your loss.
You have 120 days from the date of your loss to file a claim if you’re a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholder in Louisiana. Here are some tips to guide you through the process to ensure you receive all eligible insurance funds for your recovery.
What to Do Before an Adjuster Visit
• Take pictures of the damage.
• Write down a list of your damaged contents.
• Immediately throw away flooded items because of health risks, but cut off and keep a 12-square-inch sample of building materials like carpets and drywall as proof of damage.
• Have documents related to damage ready. This may include contractor’s estimates and repair receipts.
• Also keep your policy number and insurance company information handy.
What Happens During an Adjuster Visit
• An adjuster will contact you within 24 to 48 hours to schedule an appointment.
• Ask to see the adjuster’s official identification when he or she visits.
• The adjuster will take measurements and photographs and document the damage. They may provide you with their contact information if additional visits are needed.
Understand the Flood Insurance Claim Process
• After your home is inspected, the adjuster will provide you with a flood certification number and a suggested Proof of Loss based on their assessment.
• Inspectors never ask for money, approve or disapprove claims or tell you whether your claim will be approved.
What Happens After an Adjuster Visit
• Review, sign and send the Proof of Loss form to your insurance company within 120 days of the date of damage.
• Submit a signed Proof of Loss form even if you think it doesn’t cover all your damage because you can always file supplemental claims.
• Contact your insurance company and file for additional payments if you disagree with the original Proof of Loss amount, discover more damage, or the repair costs exceed the estimated amount.
Have Questions? Call FEMA or Your Insurance Company
• Call 800-621-3362 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and select Option 2. If you use TTY, call 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service can call 800-621-3362. Call center staff are available to assist you with information regarding your policy, offer technical flood guidance to aid in recovery and answer your questions.
• Go online to fema.gov/louisiana-disaster-mitigation for information about repairing and rebuilding.
It’s time to put those flip-flops away once and for all. Because whether you like it or not, winter’s coming, and it looks like it might be a doozy. Let’s take a closer look—with a little help from the experts—at what weather to expect in the weeks and months ahead.
Bundle Up, East Coast!
While the lingering effects of El Niño may have some people expecting warmer weather for 2016-2017, they may be in for a big surprise. Topping the list of regions potentially in the path of significant snowfall as winter approaches? The entire East Coast. According to meteorologists, both New England and upstate New York can expect to see chillier-than-usual temperatures—accompanied by the chance of major winter storms—from December through February this year.
Not only that, but while El Niño may finally be gone, La Niña is on its way, meaning we can expect to see more unusual weather—including the early arrival of cold weather this winter. Explains CNN, “El Niño is characterized by a warming of the waters in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. La Niña features a cooling of those same Pacific waters.” The fallout from these changing weather patterns can be widespread and unpredictable.
Iron Mountain, the company best known for its document storage and data center facilities in underground caverns, has become the fifth major US data center provider to make a big direct investment in renewable energy to power its operations. The company has agreed to buy 10 percent of energy that will be generated by the enormous Amazon wind farm that’s currently under construction in Texas.
As the deal illustrates, big energy users, such as data center operators, can benefit from both energy cost savings that are now possible when making utility-scale power purchase agreements and from helping their customers meet their corporate sustainability goals. Iron Mountain said it expects the deal to help it save $1.5 million in costs and that its renewable energy efforts to date are helping it open new doors with customers.
“We’ve discovered that it’s also helping us to open meaningful dialogue and collaboration opportunity with our customers who are seeking to understand and mitigate their own environmental impact,” Ty Ondatje, senior VP of corporate responsibility and chief diversity officer at Iron Mountain, said in a statement.
The American Red Cross is one of the key partners working with emergency managers at all levels of government. When disasters strike Red Cross staff and volunteers play key roles in humanitarian assistance. As we moved into the 21st Century the Red Cross has been criticized for the manner in which it has provided services.
There are always two sides to every story. To get the Red Cross’ perspective, we submitted questions to the Red Cross. Harvey Johnson, senior vice president for Disaster Cycle Services provided responses to those questions below. Johnson’s career path included service in the in the United States Coast Guard where he served for 30 years, and also previously as FEMA’s deputy administrator and chief operating officer.
Q: Over the last few years the American Red Cross has regionalized its services and changed some aspects of its service delivery model. How would you describe those changes?
AUSTIN, Texas—FEMA announced today more than $12.5 million is being awarded to support state and local efforts that reduce the impact of future disasters.
The funding—through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program—is provided in addition to the federal aid that supports the recovery following a major disaster declaration. This year, disasters were declared following severe storms and flooding in March, April and June; the $12.5 million in grants is the total HMGP assistance for all three.
HMGP grants to the state are typically 15 percent of the total FEMA assistance provided for recovery. While funding for disaster recovery is provided only for the affected counties, HGMP funds are available for communities throughout the state.
Some recent examples of HMGP projects around the state:
- Cooke County’s safe room rebate program, which provided up to $3,000 to homeowners who built tornado shelters or safe rooms.
- Bastrop County’s hazardous fuels mitigation program, which thinned 4,000 acres of woodland and vegetative debris, effectively limiting the source of fuel for wildfires.
- The ongoing, multi-year home buyout program in Harris County, where since 1995, more than 2,000 homes have been removed from the high-risk flood zone.
- The City of San Marcos’ early-warning system of 14 sirens placed on poles at strategic locations around the community.
The federal share of each approved project is 75 percent. FEMA provides the funding to the state, which sets project priorities and administers the program. Eligible projects may be funded for or through:
- State agencies;
- Federally-recognized tribes;
- Local governments, and
- Private nonprofit organizations.
Individuals do not apply directly to the state, but their local government may apply on their behalf.
“Studies have shown that every $1 spent on mitigation avoids $4 that might have been spent for disaster recovery,” said Federal Coordinating Officer William J. Doran III, who is in charge of FEMA’s current operations in Texas.
For additional information on the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, go to www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-assistance. For examples of successful mitigation projects, visit www.fema.gov/mitigation-best-practices-portfolio.
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FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
Download fema.gov/mobile-app to locate open shelters and disaster recovery centers, receive severe weather alerts, safety tips and much more.
The Business Continuity Institute - Oct 13, 2016 16:36 BST
Natural disasters may be killing fewer people, but they are becoming more frequent and costing more money to recover from, according to a new report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The World Disasters Report 2016 noted that forced migration is at its highest level since the Second World War; the number and scale of disasters triggered by natural hazards are increasing; globalization and urbanization means outbreaks and other health crises are harder to contain; and the impact of climate change is taking its toll – 2015 was the hottest year on record with 32 major droughts, double the ten-year average.
Investing in resilience can yield a wide range of benefits, but the central rationale and common focus for disaster risk management and climate-change adaptation is associated with saving lives, reducing losses and supporting both individuals and communities to bounce back from disasters quickly and effectively.
Despite broad recognition that investing in resilience before a disaster can save lives and money, only 40 cents in every US$100 spent on international aid is invested in preparedness and measures to reduce disaster risk. A lack of global investment in strengthening community resilience is leaving tens of millions of people exposed to predictable, preventable and catastrophic disaster risks with expensive consequences.
Between 1991 and 2010, the impact of recorded disaster events in poor countries resulted in over US$840 billion of financial losses. Yet, over the same period, only 0.4% of the US$3.3 trillion spent on aid was dedicated to prevention or risk reduction. Economic losses from extreme weather events are now in the range of US$150 - US$200 billion annually,
“Investing in resilience is the best method we have for protecting the lives, livelihoods and dignity of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said IFRC Secretary General, Elhadj As Sy. “Business as usual is no longer acceptable. It will only lead to more silent suffering and deeper poverty. We must work along a continuum – of preparedness, early response, recovery and resilience building.”
“It is clear that something must change,” said co-editors David Sanderson and Anshu Sharma. “But responding to today’s humanitarian challenges is not just a question of finance. We must invest in solutions and partnerships that produce future resilience – livelihoods and social cohesion, health and psychosocial well-being, supporting communities to withstand future shocks and adversity.”
Building on the report, the IFRC is also calling on partners to support and join the One Billion Coalition for Resilience – a global initiative to support communities around the world to take action to strengthen their safety, health and well-being. Launched in late 2015, the initiative seeks to build a broad coalition of partners from across all sectors to support 1 billion people by 2025.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Insurance technology company RiskGenius has been chosen to participate in the Plug and Play Insurance Accelerator, a startup development and funding program well-known in Silicon Valley. RiskGenius, which speeds up insurance policy reviews through machine learning, was one of 22 companies chosen from over 800 to participate in the Silicon Valley technology program.
“It’s an honor to be selected for the Plug and Play program.” Said Chris Cheatham, CEO of RiskGenius. “We are seeing tremendous appetite for RiskGenius and we believe participating in the Plug and Play program will only accelerate our growth.”
Plug and Play is widely known in Silicon Valley and by startups for its ability to scale new technology solutions, connecting them with coaching, customers and investors. Plug and Play’s alumni list is deep, including PayPal, Dropbox, SoundHound and Lending Club.
Why Invest In Insurance Technology?
PwC reported that nearly three fourths of insurance companies believe their industry is about to be disrupted. Last year, nearly $2.65 billion of investment was poured into insurance technology startups. Innovation giant Plug and Play Tech Center has taken notice and is positioning 23 startups that it considers the brightest to lead the way.
RiskGenius was hand-selected by Plug and Play and its corporate partners, which include some of the world’s largest insurance corporations like Travelers, The Hartford, Nationwide, Farmers Insurance and USAA. The selected companies will participate in a 12-week program designed to accelerate business development and the possibility of funding.
"Starting a program with 23 of the best Insurtech startups changing the industry is a great step forward for our innovation strategy," saysAli Safavi, Director of Plug and Play Insurance. "Having many major insurance partners and experts involved in the program distinguishes our selection process and leads to a comprehensive investment method for us."
Described as “the Google of Insurance Policies,” RiskGenius (www.riskgenius.com) helps insurance professionals research and review insurance policies faster. The RiskGenius software leverages patent-pending Technology Enabled Policy Review, which includes both machine learning and natural language processing. After a policy is uploaded by a user, each clause is parsed and categorized based on common industry terminology. Users are able to instantly locate key clauses across one or more policies, streamlining the review process.
RiskGenius allows insurance professionals to conduct sophisticated and complex searches through vast amounts of big data that’s been accumulated by the industry over time. Not only does it make the entire insurance process more efficient, it unlocks a vast amount of information that was never before available to the industry.
About Plug and Play Tech Center – Plug and Play Tech Center is one of leading innovation platforms in the world. Since inception in 2006, its programs have expanded worldwide to include entrepreneurs from 24 countries, providing necessary resources to succeed in Silicon Valley. With over 6000 startups, and 126 official corporate partners, it has created the ultimate startup ecosystem in many industries. Plug and Play provides active investments with 180 leading Silicon Valley VCs, and more than 365 networking events per year. Companies in its community have raised over$3.5 billionin funding, with successful portfolio exits including Danger, Dropbox, Lending Club, PayPal, SoundHound, and Zoosk. For more information, visit:http://www.plugandplaytechcenter.com
Weather just got smarter -- The most accurate source of weather forecasts and warnings in the world translates Superior Accuracy into actionable business and safety impacts on a global scale
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, the world's leading commercial weather source partnering with more than 240 of Fortune 500 companies and government agencies, has announced the expansion of its patented SmartWarn® technology, providing a new level of weather forecasting intelligence and life-saving alerting capabilities to businesses across all industries worldwide.
SmartWarn is the most advanced weather forecast engine in the world. It focuses on business security and decision making, demonstrating AccuWeather's continued big-weather-data leadership and innovation, saving lives and property for enterprises and government agencies. With the most complete global real-time and historical weather data integrated into SmartWarn - including unique real-time datasets from around the world with exclusive observations, satellite, and radar platforms - the most robust database of forecast models, proprietary patented technology, and comprehensive validation results - AccuWeather is the most accurate weather company worldwide.
New and expanded SmartWarn system capabilities include hyper-local AccuWeather MinuteCast® minute-by-minute data sets, over 100 additional detailed weather parameters, hundreds of weather analytics variables, the most customized "smart" warnings tailored by client, and more.
"AccuWeather's SmartWarn system is the smartest weather engine available to manage weather risk for business. The state-of-the-art commercial weather forecast platform ingests the most accurate, comprehensive weather data and complex modeling, pinpointed for every location on Earth and extending further ahead than any other source, with hyper-local short- and long-range forecasts," said Mark Ebel, Vice President of Business Services at AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, Inc. "In contrast, other weather data sources forecast large polygon areas without the level of precise detail, frequency, resolution, lead time, or depth of weather intelligence that AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions and SmartWarn provide to clients across all industries and government operations."
SmartWarn enables real-time pinpointed commercial weather forecasts, warnings, and alerts through its advanced proprietary technology, powering business-to-business services including site-specific AccuWeather SkyGuard® Localized Severe Weather Warnings and AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions' Business Portal. The experienced team of AccuWeather commercial meteorologists utilize SmartWarn to assess and issue customized mission-critical severe weather warnings and advise clients prior to severe weather events, saving lives and property by placing weather information into context for leading businesses worldwide.
AccuWeather SkyGuard Localized Severe Weather Warnings provide warnings with Superior Accuracy™ that protect people and property, saving lives and injuries in dangerous situations. Customized, precise site-specific notifications include snow, flood, hail, high winds, hurricanes, tornadoes, and much more. AccuWeather warnings are shown to be seven times more accurate and provide double the warning lead time than even the official government National Weather Service warnings. AccuWeather's accurate, pinpointed warnings for tornadoes, for example, in the U.S. alone, also translate into substantial savings for companies due to AccuWeather's low false alarm rate of 11% versus the federal government's National Weather Service false alarm rate of 88%. AccuWeather's most actionable and accurate warnings - including "Null Warnings" that let businesses and emergency managers know when National Weather Service warnings will not impact a specific location, and precisely pinpointing where they will impact – translate into life-saving actions and substantial savings for business and industry.
"With weather's significant impact across all industries, managing this risk and maximizing return is a business imperative," added Ebel. "It is why over 240 of Fortune 500 companies rely on AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions. By forecasting and communicating the weather the most accurately and effectively to enterprises worldwide, AccuWeather has saved tens of thousands of lives and tens of billions of dollars in property damage."
AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions has focused on the business impacts of weather for over 50 years and continues its track record of success in commercial growth. Rated #1 in global weather accuracy in a recent third-party study, industries and government agencies rely on AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions for the most accurate weather information and insights to drive quantifiable business results.
About AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions
AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, the world's leading commercial weather source partnering with more than 240 of Fortune 500 companies and thousands of businesses and government agencies worldwide, provides the most accurate, actionable weather data, forecasts, and intelligence that saves lives, protects property, drives revenue, minimizes risk, increases productivity, and more for clients worldwide. AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions has focused on the business impacts of weather for over 50 years, serving clients in all 50 states in the U.S. and worldwide including all of North America, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and Asia. Clients across all industries rely on AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions for the most accurate weather information and insights to drive quantifiable business results. Government and emergency management agencies also rely on AccuWeather for the best forecasts of severe weather events – floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, cyclones, and others – available from any source. By forecasting and communicating the weather the most accurately and effectively worldwide, focusing on impacts - telling people how, why, and what they need to do in order to save lives and minimize losses - AccuWeather has saved tens of thousands of lives and prevented tens of billions of dollars in property damage.
Visit www.AccuWeather.com/EnterpriseSolutions for additional information.
About AccuWeather, Inc. and AccuWeather.com
Over 1.5 billion people worldwide rely on AccuWeather to help them plan their lives, protect their businesses, and get more from their day. AccuWeather provides hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute forecasts with Superior Accuracy™ with customized content and engaging video presentations available through smart phones, tablets, free wired and mobile Internet sites via AccuWeather.com, award winning AccuWeather apps, connected TVs, wearables, smart homes, and connected cars, as well as radio, television, newspapers, and the AccuWeather Network cable channel. Established in 1962 by Founder, President, and Chairman Dr. Joel N. Myers – a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society who was recognized as one of the top entrepreneurs in American history by Entrepreneur Magazine's Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurs book – AccuWeather also delivers a wide range of highly-customized enterprise solutions to media, business, government, and institutions, as well as weather news, content, and video for more than 180,000 third-party websites. AccuWeather's CEO, Barry Lee Myers, is an award winning leader in global weather information issues and one of the world's most recognized advocates for cooperative relationships between government weather agencies and the weather industry. He is a leader in the digital weather information space.
Visit www.AccuWeather.com for additional information.
American business people reveal apps are becoming key to locate workspace
DALLAS – As the global workforce becomes increasingly mobile and connected the need to find suitable workspace in different locations, and sometimes at short notice, is also growing. Latest research by Regus, the global workplace provider, finds that digitally savvy workers across the U.S. are using apps to find their next workspace.
As with travel bookings, where over a fifth are carried out using apps, almost one in ten U.S. business people now reveal they use apps to book workspace. Jeff Doughman, Executive Vice President at Regus adds, “We have witnessed this trend too; there has been a 300% year-on-year increase in users of the Regus app. The app enables users to conveniently book meeting rooms, private offices, co-working spaces and business lounges, without the hassle of contracts or sign-up fees.”
As more millennials enter the workforce and smartphones become more ubiquitous in emerging economies, the use of apps to locate workspace is only set to rise.
Key findings from American respondents
· 43% of respondents now report that they work outside the main office half the week or more
· Seven percent of the U.S. workforce now report relying on apps to find the closest working space available
“The workforce is changing and becoming ever more digital and mobile. Working from a single location the whole week is now a thing of the past for a good portion of today’s professionals, but workers need to be connected and productive even when they are not in the main office. As a result, business people are using the web and downloading apps to find workspace, especially while they travel from meeting to meeting. Whether accessing apps via a tablet or smartphone, it is likely the younger generation of workers that have grown up with the expectation that there is an app for every requirement, will increasingly opt for this solution to find their next work location,” added Doughman.
Regus is the world’s largest provider of flexible workspace solutions, with a network of 2,850 locations in over 1,000 towns and cities, across 107 countries, serving 2.3m members.
Through our range of office formats, as well as our growing mobile, virtual office, and workplace recovery businesses, we enable people and businesses to work where, when, and how they want, with a range of price points.
Our customers include some of the most successful entrepreneurs, start-ups and multi-billion dollar corporations.
For more information, visit www.regus.com.
The Business Continuity Institute - Oct 13, 2016 11:57 BST
On the morning of 22nd March 2016, Brussels airport was hit by a deadly terrorist attack that killed 32 people and left more than 300 injured. Around 25 million people travel through Brussels airport annually and more than half of those passengers will be on business trips.
The chances of being involved in a terrorist attack are still incredibly remote, but for those travelling through the airport that morning it would not have felt that way. Nor would it have in Paris in November 2015, or more recently in September in New York. The increasing regularity of critical events worldwide means more organizations need to be able to instantly locate and alert employees of any nearby risks and keep them safe from harm.
According to a report by Strategy Analytics, almost half of the world’s employees will work away from a single office by 2020. The effect of globalisation on business means employees are regularly travelling between locations, often to different cities and countries. Keeping mobile workers safe from harm is rising up the corporate agenda.
Travelling employees, and the wider mobile workforce, face a range of risks that could impact on their safety and security. These threats are not just limited to acts of terror, but include everything from fires and natural disasters to flooding and building closures. Organizations have a duty of care to protect their employees, yet according to Ernst & Young’s most recent Global Mobility Effectiveness Survey, only 30% of companies have a system in place to track business travellers.
When an incident takes place companies need to respond effectively to gain clear visibility of the crisis, and deploy resources to ensure employee safety. But how can organizations achieve this? One solution is to implement a critical communications platform to manage all emergency notifications, help ensure employees are located, and resources are deployed quickly and effectively during an emergency.
In a crisis, every minute matters. Organizations no longer have time to work through manual call lists to send out an emergency cascade. A secure, independent communications platform ensures that the right message gets through to the right people at the right time; even when traditional routes of communication are unavailable.
The Everbridge platform has the ability to send emergency notifications out via more than 100 different communication channels and devices, including SMS, email, voice-to-text, social media alerts and app notifications, ensuring the lines of communication between an organization and its employees can remain open in any situation.
Critical communication platforms that facilitate effective two-way communication have proved invaluable during emergency situations. For example, during the terrorist attacks in Brussels in March 2016 the GSM network went offline, making standard mobile communication impossible. The citizens of the Belgian capital were unable to send messages to family, friends and work colleagues to let them know they were safe or in need of assistance. The team at Brussels Airport made its public Wi-Fi discoverable and free to join, allowing anyone with a Wi-Fi enabled device to connect, send and receive messages.
Organizations that used critical communications technology to send out an emergency notification were safe in the knowledge that the message would be able get through to the right people, despite the obstacles. For an organization’s crisis management and business continuity practices, the flexibility that a multi-modal platform such as Everbridge provides is essential to ensuring that a high level of responses are received quickly when emergency notifications are sent.
These responses allow organizations to rapidly build a clear picture of an incident, and understand what impact it is having on its employees. To automate this process, templates can be built into communications platforms so employees can respond quickly in an emergency - facilitating a much higher response rate. A simple “I am safe” / “I need help” template means companies know within minutes which employees are at risk, which are in danger and where best to focus their efforts.
The most advanced critical communications platforms offer organizations more than just static location data. Everbridge’s ‘Safety Connection’ application has the capability to provide dynamic location insight, enabling an organization to know where its employees plan to be and responding automatically if they do not check in and update their status to ‘safe’. The safe corridor function means employees travelling to a location deemed unsafe can check in regularly with the organization, and if they do not check in, the platform automatically sends an emergency alert notifying management of the change in status and making communicating with that person a priority.
Should an employee inadvertently stray into an unfamiliar or dangerous area, they can also use the Everbridge smartphone application to trigger an SOS alert. Once this panic button has been pressed, the platform immediately sends an alert to the organization detailing the employee’s location and any relevant audio or visual data, enabling them to alert the emergency services.
By enabling employers to be aware of when their employees are travelling and where to, the organization is better prepared to handle a crisis. The company will know which airport employees are travelling to, which hotel they are staying at, where their meetings are taking place and when. This information can then be cross-referenced with a global real-time feed of international incidents, making it possible to inform employees when their travel might be disrupted or to avoid specific danger zones. For example, if a port or airport is being blockaded by protesters the company can warn the employee in advance. If riots are taking place in a suburb of a city where an employee is staying, the employer can warn them to remain in the hotel.
Employers have to accept three truths: in the future employees will travel more; the world will continue to become more uncertain; employees will expect more from their employers when they are travelling for work. Combined, this could be considered as a HR headache but in reality it is an opportunity. It can help engage employees, protect their safety and increase their loyalty to a company. A fully functional critical communications platform provides the reassurance and immediacy to support employees if and when the unexpected happens.
As part of Everbridge’s commitment to helping improve business continuity and emergency response practices for organizations around the world, we will be exhibiting at the BCI World Conference 2016 in London. Here, Imad Mouline, Chief Technology Officer at Everbridge and other members of our team will be discussing the importance of effective crisis communication and how communications technology can help organizations of all sizes better protect their infrastructure and people.
Everbridge are Gold Sponsors of the BCI World Conference where you can visit them on Stand 11 to find out more about their unique offer. The BCI World Conference and Exhibition takes place on the 8th and 9th November at the Novotel London West Hotel. The largest business continuity conference and exhibition in the UK, BCI World has a packed programme as well as an exhibition hall promoting all the BC products and services you need. Don't miss out, book your place today.