CPCU Society Annual Meeting Attendees Gain Insight at Hurricane Katrina Seminar

November 8, 2005

More than 130 chartered property casualty underwriters and their guests at the recent CPCU Society Annual Meeting and Seminars attended an exclusive seminar, “Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned.”

The session’s panelists addressed some of the reasons why Katrina’s insured losses were so severe and what might be done to prevent similar results in a future catastrophic event. Attendees heard the lessons learned by professionals who witnessed the devastation first-hand, and could provide insights into the possible financial effects on the insurance industry.

“The lessons learned from Katrina apply across all types of catastrophes or disasters, be it a fire that devastates your business, be it a tornado in Oklahoma, be it an earthquake in California,” said Millicent Workman, a risk management consultant and moderator of the seminar. Workman is the 2005-2006 CPCU Society president.

Looking back on Katrina, James Klauke, an executive general adjuster for Crawford Technical Services, remarked that one of the lessons he learned is that when FEMA and the government put together teams to respond to a catastrophe and to make recovery plans, insurance professionals need to be included.

“The insurance industry should be on that team, and we need to get to the government and make them understand that we need to be in there helping them from day one,” he said. “The insurance industry always gets money into the region first because we have the capability of writing checks and handing them to insureds as fast as we can get to them, whereas with FEMA and government loan programs, there are applications to file… so by us getting into the region immediately, we can help by getting assets into the region and start rebuilding.”

Klauke, who did not visit New Orleans, spent more than four weeks in Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi. During his presentation, he showed photos of areas in these states that sustained incredible damage. “This was not just the devastation that occurred on the coast. It went far inland,” he emphasized.

James Wills, principal with Continuum RestoreNet in Memphis, Tenn., had yet another perspective to share. Wills stressed that pre-loss planning helps post-loss logistics and recovery issues. “Pre-loss planning will exponentially increase your success in recovery.” Wills cited a recent study that found ‘nearly one-third of U.S. businesses don’t have emergency continuity plans in place, up 25 percent from a year ago.’

The CPCU Society’s Annual Meeting and Seminars was held in Atlanta at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. To order a recording of the “Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned” seminar, go to www.cpcusociety.org, and click “Order Your 2005 Annual Meeting Seminar Recordings” under the “What’s New!” section.

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