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Insurance Disaster Bill

SACRAMENTO — Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced legislation today to streamline residential insurance claims for victims of disasters such as wildfires.

“When someone has lost their home or suffered serious damage in a disaster, they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get coverage they are entitled to,” Sen. Dodd said. “Insurance companies must act swiftly to advance living expenses for temporary housing and other costs and they shouldn’t bury home owners in exhaustive inventory forms. People who pay their premiums deserve to be made whole without unnecessary delay.”

Senate Bill 872, sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, expands the definition of additional living expenses that must be paid to home owners for losses incurred in a state of emergency. Upon submission of a claim, it requires an advance payment of no less than four months for costs such as housing, furniture rental and transportation. Also, it requires an advance payment of no less than 25 percent of a policy limit for lost contents without submission of an inventory form.

The bill, coauthored by Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, requires insurers to give home owners a 60-day grace period for payment of residential premiums after an emergency. Also, insurance companies will be barred from deducting the land value from payouts for those who build on new lots.

“When a disaster occurs, residents need immediate help, not red tape and unnecessary paperwork that adds to their problems,” Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said. “I am proud to sponsor this crucial legislation, enforcing actions that I have urged insurers to take after wildfires to protect policyholders. This proposal will help ensure residents have all the resources and time available to them to help ease the financial and emotional toll of a disaster.”

Before An Earthquake

Misc_EmergencyKitThe following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property in the event of an earthquake.

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Fasten shelves securely to walls.
  • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
  • Fasten heavy items such as pictures and mirrors securely to walls and away from beds, couches and anywhere people sit.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures and top heavy objects.
  • Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks. Get appropriate professional help. Do not work with gas or electrical lines yourself.
  • Install flexible pipe fittings to avoid gas or water leaks. Flexible fittings are more resistant to breakage.
  • Secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace and gas appliances by strapping them to the wall studs and bolting to the floor. If recommended by your gas company, have an automatic gas shut-off valve installed that is triggered by strong vibrations.
  • Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
  • Be sure the residence is firmly anchored to its foundation.
  • Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.
  • Locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall. Reinforce this information by moving to these places during each drill.
  • Hold earthquake drills with your family members: Drop, cover and hold on.

Know the Terms

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify an earthquake hazard:

Aftershock – An earthquake of similar or lesser intensity that follows the main earthquake.

Earthquake – A sudden slipping or movement of a portion of the earth’s crust, accompanied and followed by a series of vibrations.

Epicenter – The place on the earth’s surface directly above the point on the fault where the earthquake rupture began. Once fault slippage begins, it exp ands along the fault during the earthquake and can extend hundreds of miles before stopping.

Fault – The fracture across which displacement has occurred during an earthquake. The slippage may range from less than an inch to more than 10 yards in a severe earthquake.

Magnitude – The amount of energy released during an earthquake, which is computed from the amplitude of the seismic waves. A magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter Scale indicates an extremely strong earthquake. Each whole number on the scale represents an increase of about 30 times more energy released than the previous whole number represents. Therefore, an earthquake measuring 6.0 is about 30 times more powerful than one measuring 5.0.

Seismic Waves – Vibrations that travel outward from the earthquake fault at speeds of several miles per second. Although fault slippage directly under a structure can cause considerable damage, the vibrations of seismic waves cause most of the destruction during earthquakes.

 

Source: FEMA , “Before an Earthquake” http://www.ready.gov website. Accessed July 3, 2014. http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes

© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. This content is strictly for informational purposes and although experts have prepared it, the reader should not substitute this information for professional insurance advice. If you have any questions, please consult your insurance professional before acting on any information presented. Read more.

During An Earthquake

Disaster_EvacuationRouteDrop, cover and Hold On. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and if you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe.

If Indoors

  • DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
  • Do not use a doorway except if you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway and it is close to you. Many inside doorways are lightly constructed and do not offer protection.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • DO NOT use the elevators.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.

If Outdoors

  • Stay there.
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Many of the 120 fatalities from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake occurred when people ran outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.

If in a Moving Vehicle

  • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.

If Trapped Under Debris

  • Do not light a match.
  • Do not move about or kick up dust.
  • Cover your mouth with a h andkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

 

Source: FEMA , “During an Earthquake” http://www.ready.gov website. Accessed July 3, 2014. http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes

© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. This content is strictly for informational purposes and although experts have prepared it, the reader should not substitute this information for professional insurance advice. If you have any questions, please consult your insurance professional before acting on any information presented. Read more.

After An Earthquake

  • Disaster_EarthquakeCracksWhen the shaking stops, look around to make sure it is safe to move. Then exit the building.
  • Expect aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.
  • Help injured or trapped persons. Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance such as infants, the elderly and people with access and functional needs. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
  • Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information.
  • Be aware of possible tsunamis if you live in coastal areas. These are also known as seismic sea waves (mistakenly called “tidal waves”). When local authorities issue a tsunami warning, assume that a series of dangerous waves is on the way. Stay away from the beach.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Go to a designated public shelter if your home had been damaged and is no longer safe. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
  • Stay away from damaged areas. Stay away unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire, or relief organizations. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Be careful when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages.
  • After it is determined that its’ safe to return, your safety should be your primary priority as you begin clean up and recovery.
  • Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of objects that can fall off shelves.
  • Find out how to keep food safe during and after and emergency by visiting: http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/emergency/index.html
  • Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves to protect against injury from broken objects.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.
  • Inspect the entire length of chimneys for damage. Unnoticed damage could lead to a fire.
  • Inspect utilities.
    • Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
    • Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
    • Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.

Source: FEMA , “After an Earthquake” http://www.ready.gov website. Accessed July 3, 2014. http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes

© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. This content is strictly for informational purposes and although experts have prepared it, the reader should not substitute this information for professional insurance advice. If you have any questions, please consult your insurance professional before acting on any information presented. Read more.

IN: How To Be Safe Before, During & After An Earthquake

Dear Valued Customer,

In this issue of the “————–” we focus on preparing for an earthquake, and what to do during and after one.

Underst and how to increase your preparedness: fasten shelves securely to walls and have disaster supplies on h and. Find out what to do during an earthquake, and, what to do after an earthquake, as aftershocks may typically be less violent than the preceding quake but they can still cause considerable damage.

Last, but not least, please be aware that st andard homeowners, renters and business insurance policies do not cover damage from earthquakes. Coverage is available either in the form of an endorsement or as a separate policy. We welcome your call to check out the details.

We appreciate your continued business and look forward to serving you.

Kind regards,

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