Industry Offers Donations, Free Tools to Victims of Hurricane Harvey and Irma

By Denise Johnson | September 14, 2017

Nearly three weeks after Hurricane Harvey caused massive flooding in Texas and a week after Irma began taking aim at Florida, insurers and vendors are offering aid to hurricane victims in various ways.

Recent reports estimate flood damage resulting from Harvey could total $75 billion. AIR Worldwide estimates that industry insured losses from wind, flood and storm surge combined are expected to exceed $10 billion.

Karen Clark & Company released early figures indicating an estimated $18 billion in insured losses resulting from Hurricane Irma damage in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.

Besides offering mobilized claims catastrophe teams across affected areas, insurers and others in the industry began offering donations and tools to assist storm victims.

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund has raised more than $300,000 for victims of Hurricane Harvey. A second fund will be opening tomorrow supporting victims of Hurricane Irma, a press source said.

Earlier this month, Travelers announced a $500,000 contribution to Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts, including contributions to the American Red Cross, Team Rubicon and All Hands Volunteers.

“Our hearts go out to those affected by the unprecedented impact of Hurricane Harvey,” said Alan Schnitzer, chairman and chief executive officer of Travelers.

Travelers also implemented a disaster relief billing plan for customers affected by Harvey and will continue to insure policyholders who are temporarily unable to make insurance payments.

American International Group, Inc. (AIG) announced a $1 million aid package to emergency relief and recovery organizations helping Harvey victims. The insurer plans to allocate $500,000 to Houston-based nonprofits for immediate local relief efforts, with the remaining $500,000 to be distributed to critical medium- and longer-term recovery efforts in partnership with The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP).

“We support and applaud the efforts of our local nonprofit partners who are well-placed to meet the needs of the community today, and respond to the longer-term needs that will emerge as the full impact of Hurricane Harvey is known,” said Brian Duperreault, AIG president and chief executive officer.

Bob Ottenhoff, president and CEO of CDP, said that full recovery from a hurricane and floods takes several years. He explained the Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund will focus on “rebuilding homes, businesses and infrastructure; meeting the needs of young children; supporting mental health needs; and boosting damaged agricultural sectors.”

Workers’ comp insurer Texas Mutual announced a grant of $10 million to affected policyholders. Grant applications began being accepted yesterday in the 58 counties identified in disaster proclamations issued by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

“Many of our policyholders were affected by Hurricane Harvey, and we hope this funding will help these businesses and their employees return to work safely and quickly,” Rich Gergasko, president and chief executive officer of Texas Mutual, said. “In addition to providing aid for individuals, we think it is important that companies, particularly small businesses, have the resources to recover and resume business as soon as possible.”

To be eligible for the grant, which has a maximum value of $10,000, policyholders must have sustained significant business damage as a result Harvey and will have to identify how funds will be used. Funds can be used for payroll, building rehab or repair, machinery and equipment repair or purchase, replacement of lost inventory and other expenses associated with rebuilding. The application has to be co-signed by the policyholder’s insurance agent of record on file with Texas Mutual.

In addition to monetary donations, vendors servicing the insurance industry announced various free tools to aid Harvey victims.

Harvey contents tool. Photo: Enservio

Enservio, a firm offering contents claim management software and inventory tools to property insurers, recently announced the launch of HarveyContents.com, a free contents inventory creation tool to assist the process of inventorying lost or damaged personal property. The company has since announced IrmaContents.com to assist Hurricane Irma victims with property inventory, as well.

“In the aftermath of a catastrophe, one of the most difficult tasks victims have to undergo is the documentation process for all of their lost possessions, a critical requirement for them to file a claim with their insurance company or get a tax write-off for uncovered losses,” says Robert Chase, managing director of Enservio. “Just as we did for Hurricane Harvey, together with our parent company, Solera, we are making IrmaContents.com available at no charge to all citizens, insurance carrier personnel and government entities affected by Hurricane Irma to create contents inventories and expedite the process of getting their possessions back as quickly as possible.”

Aerial imagery of property damage caused by Hurricane Harvey is being offered free of charge by Airbus Aerial, EagleView Technologies and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Overlooking Aransas Bay on the Texas coast. Photo: Airbus Aerial

Airbus Aerial is offering its drone-captured imagery to help insurers assist Harvey and Irma victims.

EagleView reports the images collected from its fleet of two dozen aircraft have been uploaded to a newly launched website that displays before-and-after images of properties throughout the affected Texas regions. The site and photos are accessible to homeowners and insurers can be found at http://harvey2017.eagleview.com. Residents can enter their address on the site and view aerial photos of their property both before and after the storm.

The NICB announced a new link offering aerial imagery of property affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. By pasting this address in any internet browser: https://www.nicb.org/communications/hurricane-harvey-irma-aerial-imagery viewers can see a before-and-after comparison of affected property. Harvey damage is currently available and Irma photos are forthcoming.

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