Talk about disaster preparedness

Even though natural disasters don’t happen very often, ARA Insurance Premier Agent Jordan Clarke, CSRM, CWCA, Vice President, Charles M. Moore Insurance Agency, Bowling Green, Ky., always brings up the subject with his insured customers.

Why? Because its customers live in an area where there is a significant risk of tornadoes and even earthquakes. “Our primary concern is tornadoes as far as natural disasters go,” Clarke says, noting that on December 10 and 11, 2021, EF-3 category tornadoes struck western Kentucky, including the towns of Mayfield and Bowling Green, leaving death and mass destruction. in their wake.

In addition, “we are in an earthquake zone. The New Madrid Fault Line is found in western Kentucky and western Tennessee. It is considered a very active seismic zone. Because of this, disaster preparedness comes up in conversations with my clients 100% of the time,” he says.

Typically, these conversations take place during annual policy renewals, but they can also take place at specific times of the year when threats are more likely to occur.

“We talk about whether they have a written contingency plan in place, how they communicate that plan to their employees, whether they have another place to hold their operation in the event of a total loss, etc.,” Clarke explains. . “When disaster strikes, you need to know what to do and have a plan in place so everyone knows what to do. This means you need a plan in place that you and your employees have practiced.

If a rental operation doesn’t have a plan, Clarke offers a checklist and resources, including the ARA Foundation’s disaster planning and recovery guide, and others from ARA Insurance, the American Rental Association (ARA) and its agency.

“Every operation is different – its location, size, etc. A contingency plan is largely a bespoke plan. You have to go through it to be ready when something happens. So we bring resources that guide them throughout the process and come to that final plan,” he says.

Another critical part of the conversation is making sure the proper coverages are in place, such as property replacement, debris removal, business income, and general coverages.

“One of the biggest covers that is so important is business income cover, which will pay for the ongoing fixed expenses that a business will have to pay even if they cannot operate their business. Another big issue is replacement coverage. Property values ​​have increased with the inflation of building materials. Both are huge issues that we talk about with rental operators. We want to make sure they have enough coverage,” Clarke says.

Clarke, who has been an ARA Insurance Preferred Agent since 1997, knows that helping renters prepare is only part of her job. Another essential aspect is to help rental companies after a disaster.

“When a loss occurs, it’s my job to be the liaison between adjusters and other professionals to help rental companies get the money they need. Most rental dealers don’t understand the language of insurance. It’s our job to be their advocate when something like this happens. They are looking for the agent who will be their right arm to help them through the process,” he says.

So, for Clarke and other ARA Insurance Preferred Agents, it’s about being there for customers throughout their business.

“As a risk management consultant, we look at what could be potential claims and what we can change or mitigate so that those things don’t happen. Renters do not want to have complaints. We want to make sure we discuss anything that might happen so we can act before it happens,” Clarke says.

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