FEMA, CSOs Assess Dynamic Situation in Houston

National Security

​Flickr photo by Coast Guard News​

FEMA, CSOs Assess Dynamic Situation in Houston
 

Updated August 30, 2017​

Insurance claims concerns​

  • Some reports have circulated that homeowners must file claims stemming from damage wrought by Hurricane Harvey by September 1, 2017, in order to receive full coverage.

  • Those reports are not accurate.

  • The change only affects lawsuits, not the claims process, says Texas Senator Kelly Hancock.

  • A Texas law going in effect on September 1, 2017, involves legal damages that insurance companies must pay policy holders if the companies deny a claim for, offer a lowball settlement, or are slow to settle a claim.

  • If a claim is denied, lowballed, or inordinately delayed, and the policy holder goes to court against the insurer and prevails, under the new law the insurer would have to pay the claimant damages plus an additional 10 percent (rather than 18 percent under the prior law).

  • Most Texas homeowners policies don't cover home flooding, but they do often cover wind damage, vehicle flooding, and other related damage.

  • Most insurance policies that cover flooding in Texas are provided by the federal government, which is not covered by the new Texas law.

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August 29, 2017

​ASIS International CSO Center members and officials from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) joined a conference call this morning to discuss the latest impacts of Hurricane Harvey on the Houston area and how it is affecting employees and business continuity. These are some of the takeaways.

ASIS Activities

  • ASIS is supporting those affected by the storm by working with the ASIS Crisis Management and Business Continuity Council to provide response and recovery resources.​

  • The Society is donating $5,000 to the American Red Cross through its Security Cares initiative. To make your own donation, contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED CROSS or text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation for those in need.

Harvey's Path

  • Harvey is expected to loop back through the Gulf Coast and make fall slightly north of Houston and head into Louisiana.

  • At least another foot of rain is expected in the Houston area through Friday, and some areas will receive more than 50 inches of total rainfall.

FEMA Assessments and Activities

  • There are currently about 5,000 people in emergency shelters, and FEMA and the American Red Cross estimate that will grow to 30,000 people over the next several days.

  • FEMA has a million meals and millions of liters of water on hand to distribute as needed.

  • As many as 75,000 homes have been damaged by the storm, and there are about 250,000 homes and businesses without power.

  • FEMA has brought in 9,000 federal workers to the affected areas.

  • About 2,500 FEMA employees are coordinating efforts of some 1,100 urban search-and-rescue teams, as well as 120 swift water rescue teams.

  • Teams are working hand-in-hand with state authorities.

  • Corporations wanting to offer resources and assistance can contact FEMA's National Business Emergency Operations Center at 202-212-8120.

Issues discussed by CSOs

  • The key is making sure that staff and families are safe, sound, and taken care of.

  • Corporations with business operations in the affected area are still focusing on making sure employees are accounted for and providing them assistance as needed. Some are continuing to pay those affected by the storms, even if they can't make it to work. Some corporations also established round-the-clock helplines and are offering financial assistance to employees as needed.

  • Corporations are working to come up with viable criteria with which to assess staff need for financial assistance.

  • A continuing challenge is keeping track of employees who are displaced to cities as far away as Dallas.

  • Most business operations in the affected area have come to a halt, but some corporations have employees who have ridden out the storm at their facilities—either by choice or because they became stranded.

  • Some companies with shift workers made arrangements in advance for people to ride out the storm by setting up shelters onsite or at nearby hotels.

  • Sleep deprivation is becoming an issue—even if someone finished up a 12-hour shift, they can't go home.

  • Some companies are working with their facility's food vendors for extra stock and allow maintenance workers and their families to stay in a hotel across the street from the facility.

  • Some businesses have been able to switch security operations to another facility to provide some relief for onsite shift workers.

  • It's also important to prepare for looting as well as donation, insurance, and home improvement scams. The CSO Center and ASIS will update members on the specific types of these fraudulent activities as they occur.

Hurricane Harvey Recovery Resources:

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