Productive Paranoia

View Article in Chamber’s Digital Eversion

When most people think of paranoia, they probably wouldn’t consider it to be a good thing. “I beg to differ,” asserts Kathy Powery, Island Heritage’s Administration Manager.

She went on to clarify, “A certain amount of paranoia isn’t negative at all but can instead be productive. Productive paranoia doesn’t leave you scared of making decisions and moving forward. It instead acts as your guide, cautioning you to be more aware of the conditions around you and use those influences to guide your decision making.”

In her role as Administration Manager, Kathy manages the Company’s Administration Plan, which supports the Catastrophe Claims Guidelines. “What you do before the storm matters the most,” she adds.

Before hurricane season begins, Kathy goes to work assessing supplies and equipment stocks of those items that will be used in excess during and after the hurricane impacting the Cayman Islands. “Contingency plans are put in place as to how we will best service our customers and provide adequate working conditions for our employees after a storm,” continues Kathy.

“Consideration is given to premises, communications, delivery of customer service and claims handling, security, as well as vendor and employee requirements, which will all be dependent on the category of the storm.”

Like many local companies, Island Heritage learnt valuable lessons from Hurricane Ivan that they have used to implement measures to protect and ensure its continuation during and after a storm. Kathy works closely with Island Heritage’s Information Technology Manager, Jakes Ramnarine, for Business Continuity Planning.

He has taken measures to safeguard and make available IT systems for the continuation of Island Heritage’s business operations if faced by catastrophic events at their local and or regional offices. Such measures will permit the Company to recover its critical and vital systems in a timely and coordinated manner, and ultimately permit the full recovery of the IT business functions.

No matter where you are in the Caribbean, hurricanes are an unfortunate possibility. Thankfully, with strong coverage and by taking sensible precautions, your losses can be properly managed. Island Heritage has helped protect their customers across the Caribbean from hurricane-related losses through strong policies, excellent claims response, and by simply providing good advice.

Here we are again, already a month into another hurricane season in the Cayman Islands. Are you prepared?

Think about your past experiences with the destructive forces of hurricanes. How have those experiences shaped how you handle this uncertain time and how you prepare? At home a little paranoia can also go a long way. You have to ask yourself, “if a hurricane watch is issued tomorrow, will I be ready?”

Begin your preparation by carefully reviewing your insurance policies and making sure that you’re adequately covered. It may be worth taking the time to phone your provider or visit their office to discuss your coverage.

Insurance is a viable tool for risk transfer and loss financing. For a small fraction of the value of your property, you are able to transfer the risk of potential loss to a third party (the Insurance Company). The peace of mind that this affords the average property owner is unimaginable.

Of course to truly maintain peace of mind, homeowners should give serious consideration to their choice of insurer. Listed below are critical factors that should form part of your decision making:

  1. The Financial Strength and Reinsurance arrangements of the company. Recapitalizing is not unusual for insurance companies following catastrophic events, however there must be evidence that the company has this capability should the need arise. A favourable AM Best rating not only stands as testimony to the financial strength of the company, but also to the fact that the processes, systems and reinsurance arrangements in place are likely to ensure stability during trying times. Catastrophic events present companies with an abnormal scenario and generally necessitate sizeable cash calls from existing reserves. It is imperative that your company be able to demonstrate the financial capacity to meet its obligations and/or that the requisite arrangements are in place to share the expense of those obligations with a third party (reinsurers) in order to regulate its own expenditure.
  2. The Claims Ethos of the Company. Not every company is able or willing to provide a hassle free claims environment for legitimate claims. This willingness is generally influenced by the financial strength of the company.
  3. Proven support mechanisms in place to deal with catastrophic events. Many companies have adopted a “wait and see approach”; that is, they are prepared to react to the event only after it has occurred. In order to minimize uncertainty, it is imperative that you align yourself with a company who adopts a proactive approach to catastrophic situations. Evidence of this would be established measures for offline operation, an association or contractual arrangement with local and/or foreign loss adjusters and an established network of service providers who can immediately serve its clientele.

With a proven track record, A.M. Best Co. A- (Excellent) financial rating, and backing from some of the most respected names in global insurance and finance, Island Heritage is becoming the insurer of choice for thousands of Caribbean residents. Island Heritage specialises in insuring private and commercial property across the Caribbean as well as offering a comprehensive range of motor insurance coverage locally. Contact Island Heritage for a great quote today.