How to prepare for a hurricane before it hits

Companies in states like Florida should have disaster plans that can help them prepare for a hurricane. Being proactive can mean the difference between a minor loss and a one that bankrupts a business. Ideally, every employee will know what the plan is and their role if a disaster strikes. It also is important that a plan is flexible enough to account for what is actually happening in a given scenario.

There is also a chance that state laws could require businesses to take certain actions in the wake of a storm. For instance, gas stations in Florida are required to have generators so that they can be available to customers even if the power is out. Companies may want to allow employees to work remotely or have computers available in multiple locations if the main office is damaged or destroyed.

Driver sentenced to prison after fatal accident

A 66-year-old man who reached a plea deal on a DUI manslaughter charge was sentenced to up to five years in prison by a Florida judge. He will also have to spend up to 18 months on probation after he is released. However, the probation period can be reduced to 12 months if the defendant complies with all of its terms imposed upon him. Furthermore, there is a chance that he could be released from prison after completing 85% of his sentence.

The sentence was the result of a plea deal reached after discussions between representatives from the defense, the prosecution and the victim's family. As a result of the plea deal, charges of DUI and DUI causing property damage were dropped. Although the man could have received up to 15 years in prison, the lack of a criminal record likely played a role in how the plea was structured.

Insurance companies still sorting out Hurricane Michael claims

Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida in October 2018, and the storm is believed to be responsible for more than $6.9 billion in insured losses. There were 148,347 claims made related to the storm, and of those claims, 20,484 have yet to be resolved according to state authorities. That represents roughly 14% of all claims made related to the storm. In Bay County, 17% of the 88,830 claims related to Hurricane Michael have yet to be resolved.

The insurance commissioner in Florida has warned insurance companies not to delay efforts to close any unresolved cases in a timely manner. He said that their reputation of the insurance industry was at stake as they work to help policyholders. The commissioner told the governor and other state lawmakers that he was concerned over the number of claims that were still outstanding as of July 2019.

Property damage and tax law

If a Florida property is damaged in a flood or hurricane, its owner may be entitled to a tax deduction for the losses that have been incurred. However, there are several conditions that must be met to qualify for it. First, the damage must have been caused by a storm recognized as a federal disaster. Second, the deduction is only available if damages were more than 10% of the owner's adjusted gross income.

Also, the benefit is only available to those who itemize deductions on their tax returns. As a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the standard deduction increased to $12,200 for single filers, and it increased to $24,400 for married couples who are filing a joint tax return. Therefore, it is now more likely that a person or couple will take the standard deduction as opposed to itemizing.

4 post-disaster problems businesses may have with insurers

As a business owner whose company has incurred damage following a natural disaster, you may file a claim with your insurer believing you know what is covered and what is not.

However, the belief may differ from the reality. Here are four insurance policy problem areas that can affect commercial businesses and tips on how to avoid insurance chaos.

Florida property owners misled by outdated flood maps

Florida property owners who rely on FEMA maps to identify whether their homes and businesses are at risk of flooding may be at a disadvantage. Outdated flood maps mark a number of places as low risk in Florida that have been hit hard in recent years by hurricanes. The maps have not been updated in a decade. For some areas, such as parts of Escambia County, it has been more than 15 years.

This was the case for many residents of Mexico Beach, where the Category 5 Hurricane Michael devastated 70% of the homes and businesses. However, 80% of the buildings were not insured because of being declared at low to moderate risk of flooding. FEMA says it is working to update its maps and that coastal Florida will get new maps within the next five years. Lack of funding has prevented updates, which are supposed to happen every five years. FEMA still has a debt of more than $20 billion and remains a low funding priority.

Hurricane Irma flood compensation tops $1 billion

In the time since Hurricane Irma struck Florida in 2017, the National Flood Insurance Program, run through FEMA, has paid out over $1 billion in flood insurance claims. Over 21,900 claims were made by policyholders, including Florida homeowners and business owners, who suffered property damage as a result of flooding caused by Irma. The devastation caused by the major storm inspired state officials to once again encourage residents to ensure that they have flood insurance for their properties lest they face additional damages from another storm.

There are more NFIP policies in Florida than in any other state in the country. A FEMA representative in the state said that buying flood insurance is an important step to prepare for potential hurricanes, especially as traditional homeowner's insurance does not cover flood damage even though other types of hurricane damage claims are included. They also urged people to buy their policies early as insurance often takes 30 days after purchase to become effective. Over a typical 30-year mortgage period, homes in areas zoned as high-risk for flooding have a 25% chance of experiencing flood damage. People in communities participating in NFIP can sign up for these policies.

Natural disasters can cost homeowners a lot of money

A homeowners insurance policy could help those who live in Florida pay for damages caused by a hurricane. However, it may not be enough to pay for all of the damage. This is because insurance companies may include a hurricane deductible, which can be as much a 5% of the home's value. Furthermore, water damage may not be covered unless an individual has a flood insurance policy.

Flood insurance is sold separately from a standard homeowners insurance policy. Those who own property that is in the path of a hurricane or other major weather event are encouraged to create an emergency fund. Prior to a storm, an individual should review his or her insurance policy documents to verify what a policy does and does not cover. It may also be a good idea to review the policy with an insurance agent, and homeowners could benefit from adding riders to ensure that their most valuable possessions are protected.

4 things you should know about flood insurance

Living in Florida, you may or may not have flood insurance for your property. Much of this may depend on whether you live in an area designated as a flood zone.

Whether you have flood insurance or not, you may have certain beliefs about how the claims process and coverage work. Take a look at four pieces of information you should know before assuming your property is safe.

Florida deputy resigns after DUI arrest

A Florida sheriff's deputy has resigned from duty after he was arrested and charged with drunk driving in Indian River County. According to media reports, the resignation was revealed in an administrative investigation report issued on May 17.

On May 11, the man was reportedly hauling a boat with his black Toyota pickup truck on northbound 66th Avenue near 37th Street around 11 p.m. when he was pulled over by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officers for reckless driving. The officers claimed they observed his vehicle failing to maintain a lane, swerving into oncoming traffic and veering off the road.

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