Many Americans not prepared for disasters

Friday, May 28, 2010

Clifton Journal

Most Americans are not fully prepared in the event of a natural disaster, according to a new national survey by Trusted Choice and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big "I").

Of all survey respondents, less than 22 percent said they felt they are fully prepared in case of a disaster. More than half of respondents (51 percent) admitted they are only somewhat prepared, and more than a fifth of households (22.7 percent) reported that they were not prepared at all.

"Hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and other disasters can happen anytime, anywhere, as we recently saw with the devastating floods in Tennessee," said Madelyn Flannagan, Big "I" vice president of agent development, education and research. "Lives and property are saved when people know what to do before, during and after a disaster. This national study further demonstrates that unfortunately most people are not ready in the event of a natural disaster."

The survey further revealed that many households have not even taken the most basic steps to protect against a disaster. For example, more than two-thirds of those surveyed (67.7 percent) said they had not created a photo or video home inventory of their belongings. More than 40 percent have not assembled a disaster and emergency supplies kit in their homes. Sixty-eight percent of homeowners have not made any structural improvements or reinforcements to better protect their property from a disaster.

Of all survey participants, almost 36 percent said they don't have or don't know if they have adequate insurance coverage to help them through a disaster, and an alarming 62 percent say they have never discussed a complete disaster preparedness plan with an insurance agent.

"Independent insurance agents not only advise clients about insurance, but they're disaster readiness experts," said Robert Rusbuldt, Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big "I") president and CEO. "It is imperative to know what your risks are and what to do in the event of a disaster. We recommend meeting with a Trusted Choice independent insurance agent who is an expert in assessing your risks and insuring that you, your family and your home are prepared in the event of a disaster."

Trusted Choice and the Big "I" offer many disaster-specific readiness and recovery tips for consumers.

The survey was conducted for Trusted Choice via telephone by International Communications Research (ICR), an independent research company in Media, Pa. Interviews of a nationally representative sample of 1,006 households were conducted in May. The survey has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. For more information about ICR, go to www.icrsurvey.com.

Trusted Choice educates consumers about the benefits of using independent agents and brokers for their insurance needs: choice of companies, customized policies and advocacy support. Trusted Choice is the consumer marketing identity for approximately 10,000 independent insurance agencies and brokerage firms and 54 leading insurance companies. For more information, go to www.TrustedChoice.com.

Founded in 1896, the Big "I" is the nation's oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.

Most Americans are not fully prepared in the event of a natural disaster, according to a new national survey by Trusted Choice and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big "I").

Of all survey respondents, less than 22 percent said they felt they are fully prepared in case of a disaster. More than half of respondents (51 percent) admitted they are only somewhat prepared, and more than a fifth of households (22.7 percent) reported that they were not prepared at all.

"Hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and other disasters can happen anytime, anywhere, as we recently saw with the devastating floods in Tennessee," said Madelyn Flannagan, Big "I" vice president of agent development, education and research. "Lives and property are saved when people know what to do before, during and after a disaster. This national study further demonstrates that unfortunately most people are not ready in the event of a natural disaster."

The survey further revealed that many households have not even taken the most basic steps to protect against a disaster. For example, more than two-thirds of those surveyed (67.7 percent) said they had not created a photo or video home inventory of their belongings. More than 40 percent have not assembled a disaster and emergency supplies kit in their homes. Sixty-eight percent of homeowners have not made any structural improvements or reinforcements to better protect their property from a disaster.

Of all survey participants, almost 36 percent said they don't have or don't know if they have adequate insurance coverage to help them through a disaster, and an alarming 62 percent say they have never discussed a complete disaster preparedness plan with an insurance agent.

"Independent insurance agents not only advise clients about insurance, but they're disaster readiness experts," said Robert Rusbuldt, Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big "I") president and CEO. "It is imperative to know what your risks are and what to do in the event of a disaster. We recommend meeting with a Trusted Choice independent insurance agent who is an expert in assessing your risks and insuring that you, your family and your home are prepared in the event of a disaster."

Trusted Choice and the Big "I" offer many disaster-specific readiness and recovery tips for consumers.

The survey was conducted for Trusted Choice via telephone by International Communications Research (ICR), an independent research company in Media, Pa. Interviews of a nationally representative sample of 1,006 households were conducted in May. The survey has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. For more information about ICR, go to www.icrsurvey.com.

Trusted Choice educates consumers about the benefits of using independent agents and brokers for their insurance needs: choice of companies, customized policies and advocacy support. Trusted Choice is the consumer marketing identity for approximately 10,000 independent insurance agencies and brokerage firms and 54 leading insurance companies. For more information, go to www.TrustedChoice.com.

Founded in 1896, the Big "I" is the nation's oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.