Lessons from Hurricane Sandy: “A Wake-up Call”

Hurricane Sandy: NJ coast. A handout photograph by the US Air Force on 30 October 2012, taken during a search and rescue mission by 1-150 Assault Helicopter Battalion, New Jersey Army National Guard, in New Jersey, USA. Credit: EPA

Maybe the reason this year’s hurricane season has been so light is that last year’s gave us so much to think about. Insurers realized they were underpricing a serious exposure – “we were giving it away,” one underwriter said. Risk managers realized that a storm that measures a thousand miles wide is going to hit a lot of homes and businesses – and there will be a lot of competition for desperately needed clean-up and reconstruction crews.

On the claim side, the aggregation of risk meant that carriers often took a big picture look at individual losses, which can impact the tone at the claim negotiation table. In Lower Manhattan, building owners faced the prospect of relocating the infrastructure in their sea-water-logged basements. And every business anywhere near a hurricane zone, took a close look (or should take a close look now) at the exact wording in their policies when it comes to flood and named storms. As we say, lots to think about.

Fortunately, we have Dave Finnis, National Property Practice Leader and Dave Passman, Director of Property Claims, of Willis North America to do just that kind of thinking. I caught up with them on WillisTV to mark the superstorm’s one-year anniversary.

About Colleen McCarthy

Colleen is Director of Communications for Willis North America, where she has worked since 2010. Based in New York,…
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