IIAT Prepares Recovery Assistance Web Page in Advance of Hurricane Rita

September 21, 2005

Stating “this could be the big one we’ve avoided for years,” the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas announced it has developed a special Web page to report on storm activity and recovery plans, if those plans become necessary. This site includes an e-mail address, ritaresponse@iiat.org, that affected agents can use to communicate their needs to IIAT.

The association stated that while it cannot guarantee that needs can be met, it will try to match agents in need with volunteers who can provide supplies and staff assistance. To contact IIAT by phone, call (800) 880-7428 or (512) 476-6281. Phones and e-mails will be monitored over the weekend.

Hoping for the best

Hurricane Rita is churning through the Gulf with an eye on Texas. View the latest storm tracking at NOAA.

Preparing for the worst

Coastal agents should take steps to protect their property and move inland. A checklist of what to do before leaving the office, prepared by the Florida Association of Insurance Agents is available on the IIAT Web site. Also available is a supply list of items needed to re-establish office operations.

FAIA has provided us with their Agency Catastrophe Guide (this is a very large pdf document) that includes what to do before and after a storm, how and what to communicate to customers, and how to handle claims.

Recovering from the damage

IIAT said it is ready to serve members in need and will act as a recovery clearinghouse. As the association hears from coastal agencies it will communicate their needs to the membership through the Web site at www.iiat.org as well as through e-casts like this one.

If your office is affected by the storm, you can request help from IIAT by sending us a message using this special e-mail address: ritaresponse@iiat.org.

Be sure to include:

–a contact person and working phone number;
–e-mail address if available;
–whether you are able to operate from your normal office location;
–supplies you need; and
–whether volunteers are needed for taking claims or other recovery work.

Also clearly describe your present location. If computer operations are down, indicate what type of computer system you have and the companies you represent so suitable temporary systems can be located.

If your agency is not affected by the storm, please be prepared to send your offers of assistance with personnel and/or supplies to the same e-mail address, ritaresponse@iiat.org. IIAT will try to match up your offers with requests for assistance. Of course, the closer you are to the storm damage, the more assistance you can provide, but please be sure you realistically assess the amount and type of assistance before making an offer.

When the time comes, be sure to include:

–the type of computer system you use;
–the companies you represent;
–a contact person and phone numbers (cell, office, home);
–supplies you can provide; and
–personnel assistance you can provide.

If you are in an area that is not at risk, we ask you not to respond at this point. Rather, we ask that you consider what assistance you can provide and be prepared to respond when we send an e-cast asking for your help on behalf of affected agencies.

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