Special Report

2020 Catastrophe Preparation and Recovery

June 1 marks the beginning of hurricane season, while the peak of tornado season is March through May. Wildfire season is traditionally during the summer months, but in some states the risk is yearlong. Preparation is key to providing a timely response in order to help policyholders begin the recovery process. In this Special Report we share information on how best to prepare for natural disasters and how to recover if one damages your property.


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Damaged contents after a disaster. After a fire or flood, packing out contents and determining what can be salvaged and what should be replaced is an important, but often time-consuming aspect of a claim. (Photo: P.Harman/PC360)

In the aftermath of a loss event, both the insured and the insurer may face the dreaded pack-out — moving all contents off site for evaluation and allowing room for structural repairs. In reality, pack-outs can cover a range of functions: creating contents inventories; sorting; deciding which items can be salvaged; transporting items to specialists for repair, cleaning and disinfecting; finding replacements for non-salvage items; calculating a cash value for non-salvage contents; testing items that have been repaired; and finally re-packing and transporting contents back to the premises.

With so many variables to juggle, it is easy to understand the temptation to declare a total loss and offer a cash sum for reinstatement. However, if pack-outs are handled correctly, they can save insurers millions and allow the insured to keep a much higher proportion of their property. Handled badly, pack-outs can be a disaster to rival the loss event.

Related: Insurance coverage and clean up expenses

Content inventory Identifying salvageable contents, inventorying them and removing them to be cleaned is part of the pack-out process. (Photo: ECONA Network)

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