Check your coverage – Houston storm victims should contact carrier, broker says

Check your coverage – Houston storm victims should contact carrier, broker says | Insurance Business America

Severe storms in the area leave four people dead and nearly 1 million homes and businesses without power

Catastrophe & Flood

Ryan Smith

Four people are dead and nearly 1 million homes and businesses were without power Friday after severe thunderstorms battered the Houston area and parts of Louisiana.

The storms, which hit the area Thursday, included hurricane-force winds that toppled trees and transmission towers and blew windows out of downtown buildings, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The storms have brought the city to a virtual standstill, with school canceled for more than 400,000 students and city crews scrambling to clear fallen trees and restore power. City officials urged Houston residents not to go to work Friday unless they’re considered essential workers. Residents have also been urged to stay off the roads, many of which are flooded, the AP reported.

Houston Mayor John Whitmire said during a Thursday night briefing that wind speeds had reached 100mph during the storm, and some tornadoes had been spotted. He said the high winds were reminiscent of Hurricane Ike, which hit the area in 2008.

Charlene Okenkpu, client services manager and licensed insurance agent at TGS Insurance Agency in Houston, told Insurance Business that the agency had been unusually busy since opening at 8am Friday as clients called for help with insurance issues.

Okenkpu advised clients to check their coverages before doing anything else.

“They should reach out to either their broker or carrier directly to inquire on the claim first before filing to make sure the damage exceeds their deductible,” she said.

Okenkpu said the TGS office had weathered the storm successfully.

“We’re fine. We were stuck in the building yesterday until the tornadoes passed,” she said. “A lot of us are still without power. Some of us weren’t able to get in today because of trees in the road.”

Whitmer said during the Thursday briefing that four people had died during the storm. At least two deaths were caused by falling trees, and another occurred when strong winds blew a crane over, the AP reported.

The storms weren’t over as of Friday. The AP reported that Gulf Coast states could continue to see scattered, severe thunderstorms with tornadoes, high winds and hail. Flood watches and warnings were still in effect for Houston and areas to the east as of Friday.

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