September is National Disaster Preparedness Month
PIA National accepted an invitation to be and is now an active member of FEMA’s National Preparedness Coalition. This national effort is designed to send the message that disaster preparedness is a necessary and achievable goal for every home, business, institution, municipality and community. As a coalition member and the association that serves your needs, PIA advises that kicking off officially on September 12th is National Disaster Preparedness month.
Most recently, Hurricane Isaac demonstrated both how lessons that were learned and implemented from Hurricane Katrina were effective – and those that were ignored again exacted a heavy price. PIA members continue to have a very important and valuable role to serve in disaster preparedness and response, as Main Street independent agencies serving the insurance and claims needs of their local customers and communities.
But to best serve your communities, PIA agency members must develop and keep current their own disaster plans and guides for their own insurance operations. Doing so demonstrates to your customers the value and importance of disaster risk management, and allows your agency to be compliant with expectations that agencies exercise reasonable and responsible management of their insurance and business operations (our owned and valued business asset). Please take the time to checkout the current PIA Agency Preparedness and Recovery Plan.
PIA agencies can also use their own complete and current disaster preparedness/risk management plans as illustration of the kind of disaster/risk management planning that your insurance customers can and should undertake. Also, as citizen-residents of your local communities, it provides a working base from which you can assist your local governments’ improved understanding of the need for while pointing the way to more comprehensive and effective disaster preparedness and planning across all nature of natural, man-made, long-term or short-term disaster events.
By going to www.ready.gov PIA Affiliates and members will find many more articles, guides and tools to assist them in their own planning and agency customer assistance, as well as providing better tools and information for their communities’ efforts to become disaster-wise & safe. Helping to create disaster-wiser, prepared and safer communities makes these communities more desirable to live and work in. It also means that these communities may secure an improved community rating which FEMA uses, and now municipal bond pricing assessors, to denote better prepared/managed communities (not dissimilar to the insurance industry fire-rating zones system).
The upcoming issue of PIA Connection will address this Community Rating System in more depth. But for now, PIA affiliates and agencies should use National Disaster Preparedness Month to get your own plans up to date and help get the message and tools into the hands of every community! Following is just one example of what will (and/or could) be happening in your neck of the woods. Take it from one who knows all too well!
--Richie Clements, PIA National Sectary/Assistant Treasurer, PIA National NFIP Representative, NFIP flood producing agencies in SE, LA - and a Katrina and Isaac survivor-agency, making good on the promises we keep!