Hurricane Irma's powerful arrival in Florida has led to significant damage from a combination of wind, flood and storm surge.

The life-threatening and property destroying storm surge was forecasted to be 10 to 15 feet, but as the storm dissipated over land, so did the extreme storm surge forecasts. Nonetheless, Irma's impacts on Florida and the greater South are a stiff reminder of the importance of understanding how your insurance policy will respond to all aspects of a natural disaster.

Wording matters

The clearer your understanding of what your insurance policy says, the more prepared you will be for a catastrophic event claim. Nearly every major catastrophe brings questions around coverage in a property policy. You must understand whether storm surge is defined as windstorm or flood in your policy. For example, if your company has $100 million of windstorm coverage, how does your policy define "windstorm?" Does that definition include storm surge or is that part of your flood sublimit, which might be less than $100 million?

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