In Meridian, Miss. the power is only on in the downtown area and electricity to the rest of the community is expected to be out for one to two weeks, Scott Gray, owner of Insurance Solutions of Mississippi Inc. and a director of the Independent Insurance Agents of Mississippi told Insurance Journal.
“Generators and gasoline are extremely hot commodities right now, but I feel ice, water and food will soon replace these items as the most sought after,” Gray said. “As far as claims, some of the direct writers are advertising 800 numbers on the radio, but I hear people can not get through.
“As a large/medium agency for the area, as of Wednesday afternoon we have back up electricity, phone and Internet right now and this really helps.”
Wednesday morning, Gray said he only had phone and electricity, so we were directing customers that we could recognize to their respective 800 numbers of the companies.
“I have talked with two of our main personal lines carriers and they have CAT teams on the way,” Gray said. “We are north of the Gulf Coast about 150 to 180 miles. I can only imagine what those agents are facing and going through.
“Many customers in our area, depending on their cell phone companies, had service and this helped as much as the local radio stations for news and concerns.”
Before Hurricane Katrina hit the coast, Gray had a printout of recommended tree removal and repair contractors and electricians so he could hand it out to customers.
“I have also been out watching crews that have been doing good, safe and reasonably-priced work, asked for their cards, and been adding them to our list,” Gray explained.
“On thing I have learned, prior to another hurricane, I would print out a full list of all customers, their policy number and company,” Gray said. “That way, if the Internet or our phones are down, we would have that information readily available and be able to be more help to our customers.”
Gray said that when Katrina came through Meridian it was either still a low Category Two hurricane or a high Category One.
“At home I has more than 35 trees down, a couple of them leaning toward the house,” Gray reported. “My fence is down in at least four to six places and there is no power, the water just came on this afternoon, and it may not last.”
Gray said that he and a neighbor cooked the contents in half their freezers last night and will cook the other half tonight. He also said that, since he doesn’t have electricity at home, he will probably bring his family to the agency to spend the night.
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