Natural disasters, weather episodes, and other catastrophic events can pose various risks to businesses depending on where they are located. Hotels, for instance, may need to take into account how hailstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes could affect how they conduct business. Understanding how different hotels can prepare for regional natural disaster risks is incredibly important for business owners.
When a natural disaster or weather event is likely to affect a hotel, the business can anticipate drastic effects as well as potential damage both inside and outside of the structure. Because of this, it is incredibly important that these facilities have some sort of crisis-response plan in place for natural disasters, infectious diseases, and other potential large-scale threats. These plans should contain and spell out certain specifics, such as which team members will be in charge as well as various delegated tasks for all hotel staff.
Aside from a crisis response plan, understanding how different regional natural disasters can affect hotels is also necessary. For example, potential weather events may affect a hotel in Texas differently than they would affect a hotel in Massachusetts or California.
Regional Natural Disaster Risks
In Texas and other coastal states, the risk of a hurricane or tropical storm occurring is higher than elsewhere, meaning hotels should be prepared for water and wind damage – but just how prepared can we expect them to be? As with Hurricane Harvey, many businesses and hotels suffered greatly due to excessive water and flood damage, leaving many with no option other than to close entirely. With hurricanes, hotels should be cognizant of on-site pools, sidewalks, and paved surfaces. Owners must ensure the business has appropriate insurance coverage for any potential wind and flood damage. Because of coverage limitations, typical insurance plans may only cover damages to the building itself and not any landscaping, the building’s foundation, or underground piping.
Hail is a concern in areas like Texas and Arkansas. Hotel and business owners in hail-prone areas can look into protective measures such as hail guards, which are installed on roofs to protect the roof, air conditioning systems, and other important items on top of the building from damage.
On the other hand, in California and along the West Coast, 2018 and 2019 saw the rapid growth of major wildfires with the Camp and Woolsey fires that devastated a good portion of the state. With extreme cases like these, it is important to ensure hotels have coverage for fire damage. Hotels in wildfire prone areas have found insurance carriers pushing back on writing coverage due to the dangers these businesses face. In fact, some carriers may write exclusions into insurance policies such that if the hotel or property caught fire due to brush being close by, the carrier would not cover any fire damage stemming from the incident.
In northern states like New York and Illinois, the potential for heavy snow is typical. If a hotel is preparing for a snowstorm, owners should ensure pipes are protected from freezing and bursting, which could potentially cause a flood to occur.
Hotel Insurance Claim Denials
While hotel and other commercial property owners should be prepared for potential natural disasters, when a property damage claim is denied by an insurance company, it makes for more frustration and an ongoing loss of revenue for the owner. Commercial property damage can be incredibly devastating for both building owners and their tenants. Since commercial property insurance is in many cases required to protect the livelihood of the business, carriers that deny, delay, or underestimate the value of commercial property damage claims are doing policyholders a huge disservice. If a hotel sustained damage covered by its policy, but the insurance company won’t pay the claim, the business owner should enlist the help of an experienced insurance coverage attorney.
Commercial Property Damage Attorneys
Hotel property damage caused by a natural disaster can be detrimental to ongoing day-to-day operations. At Raizner Slania LLP, we understand this frustration and that dealing with a commercial property damage claim can hurt the livelihood of your business. If you or someone you know is being denied coverage for a valid insurance claim, contact the attorneys at Raizner Slania LLP today to discuss your needs.