Texas Watch Launches Insurer Accountability Network

June 1, 2006

On May 31, the eve of the 2006 hurricane season, Texas Watch, a non-profit consumer advocacy organization active on insurance issues, announced the launch of its Hurricane Insurance Company Accountability Network (ICAN) in Beaumont, Texas.

Homeowners interested in receiving information about how to prepare for a hurricane can call the toll-free ICAN hotline at 888-738-4226 and visit www.TexasWatch.org/ICAN. ICAN will provide callers with important information including a comprehensive home inventory, suggestions for ensuring your insurance coverage is adequate and appropriate, and tips on how to file a claim after a storm.

In addition to providing policyholders with information, ICAN intends to serve as a platform for Texans to advocate for real insurance reforms. Families still struggling to dig out after Hurricane Rita can become involved by contacting the ICAN hotline.

“Last year’s hurricane season left an entire region of our state devastated. Now more than 8 months later, thousands of families are still struggling with their insurance company,” stated Alex Winslow, executive director of Texas Watch, in the announcement. “The Hurricane Insurance Company Accountability Network is designed to help Texans prepare for a hurricane before it hits and to assist policyholders with any insurance problems that arise after a storm.”

At the press conference announcing the launch, Winslow stressed the importance of preparing before a hurricane develops in the Gulf of Mexico. He suggested that Texas homeowners take a moment to review their insurance coverage so that they will be prepared in the event of a catastrophic event in Texas.

“Hurricanes Katrina and Rita should give all homeowners pause,” said Winslow. “We recommend that Texas homeowners take just a few minutes to make sure their insurance coverage fits their needs.”

Texas Watch recommends that Texas families take the following actions before a hurricane threatens the Texas coast:

Inventory Your Home. Homeowners should take a comprehensive household inventory so that they have a record of their personal belongings. Homeowners should at least have a paper inventory stored in a safe place. Texas Watch recommends also making a photographic or video record.

Check Your Policy. Periodically, homeowners should review their insurance policy to be sure that they have adequate coverage to protect them in the event of a catastrophic claim, paying particular attention to the exclusions written into their policy.

Talk With Your Agent. Homeowners should visit with their insurance agent or customer service representative to ensure that their policy is designed to fit their needs. Homeowners should be sure that their deductible is appropriate and their coverage is sufficient so that they are not bankrupted in the event of a major catastrophe.

Check into Flood and Windstorm Insurance. Homeowners in flood prone areas should purchase federal flood insurance protection through the National Flood Insurance Program (www.floodsmart.gov; 1-800-427-4661). Coastal residents who are susceptible to serious windstorms should visit with their agent about windstorm protection either through their insurer or the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (www.twia.org).

“The most important thing homeowners can do is make sure their insurance fits their needs,” said Winslow. “Shop the market and visit with your agent to ensure that you and your family are protected should a catastrophic event devastate your home.”

Source: Texas Watch

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