Jewelers Mutual Readies for Hurricane Ike

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company said Friday it has a team of claim professionals ready to visit its customers along the Texas and Louisiana coast where hurricane Ike is expected to land as soon as they are permitted entrance.

Typically, civil authorities permit insurance personnel into disaster areas earlier than the general public, underscoring the importance of getting repairs and claims underway quickly to assure a speedy recovery, Neenah, Wis.-based company said in a statement.

“Our claims team was in Louisiana within hours of Hurricane Gustav’s landfall, personally visiting 125 jewelry businesses,” said Don Elliott, Jewelers Mutual claim manager. “Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas were hit the hardest, but jewelers were well prepared for this storm. We have received 38 claims to date as a result of Gustav, but saw much less physical damage than we anticipated. Hurricane Hanna resulted in very little claim activity.”

The company’s claim staff assists jewelers in filing claims and provides recommendations to protect property from additional damage.

Jewelers Mutual said businesses, no matter where they reside, should have an updated contingency plan in case of disaster.

“Every business should have an updated business continuity plan,” said Jeff Mills, vice president of Commercial Lines Operations at Jewelers Mutual.

The Jewelers Mutual Web site provides a handy template for creating that plan, as well as a hurricane preparedness guide and information about how to document an insurance claim. Resources can be found at www.jewelersmutual.com; click on the Safety & Security link.

The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center reports at noon Friday that the Category 2 hurricane is expected to make landfall at Galveston, Texas, as early as Friday. It may strengthen to a Category 3 hurricane before the eye crosses the coast.