So far, every prediction I have encountered related to the 2022 storm season calls for “more” and “more-costly.” A rough storm season is really not what we need right now, but that is out of our control. You can, however, do your best to prepare for it.
If you are in an area of the country that is prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, or hail, you need to dust off your crisis management and storm preparation plans and meet with your team on them as soon as possible, if you have not already. You also need to double down on the efforts you have made over the past year with tightening up your contract language to defend you from the ravages of volatile materials pricing, and unstable workforce, and supply-chain issues.
If inflation and supply-chain issues were not enough, you need to keep an eye on what is happening in the insurance industry. It would seem they are sick and tired of paying for roofs and other building systems damaged by wind and hail. As their losses mount, insurance rates rise, but they are also targeting not only deductibles, but the fitness of the structures they agree to insure.
This year, the State of Florida has struggled to work out good arrangements with the insurance industry to defend their citizens from rampant premium increases while agreeing to sufficient concessions to keep insurers writing policies in the state. The aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992 remains fresh in the memory of insurance companies, if not the state government, which had to step in when 930,000 policyholders lost their coverage when 11 insurance companies went bankrupt.
This column is not to report on the happenings in Florida, but a call to action. You should follow the story there, as the changes the insurance industry is making in Florida may be coming to your market soon. These changes may include good things for roofing contractors and policyholders alike. Insurers may soon no longer insure a structure with an old or non-performing roof covering. It is likely that insurers will require a roofing inspection on roofs of a certain age, which may lead to new opportunities for inspections, repairs, and replacements.
Also, in advance of any approaching storm, stick to your basics. Contact your ‘A’ customers and let them know how to reach you in case of storm damage. Invite them to have your team come out and do an advance inspection and take care of any potential problems if a storm does come.
Make sure you are on good footing with your supply-chain partners. It would be a good idea to discuss some “what-if” scenarios to settle issues such as product commitments. What will it take to double your credit line in advance of a surge in work? Work that out now so you do not find yourself at the end of a long line.
I realize this is the busy season and taking valuable time to make plans does not sound very profitable. If you are indeed too busy, assign someone on your staff to be the storm prep champion. If a storm does not visit you in 2022, you will not be out much. If it does, your preparations will pay you big dividends.