Newsroom

State Farm Urges Floridians To Prepare for Hurricane Season

Get Ready, Go Green

David Letson

Winter Haven, Fla. – With the start of the official hurricane season, State Farm and its more than 600 Florida agents are urging Floridians to “go green” by taking steps to prepare for the possibility of a storm strike this season.

“In 2009, getting ready means going green,” said State Farm Loss Mitigation Manager Jamie France.  “We all know the benefits of strengthening our homes: protecting our loved ones and property.  But storm-proofing your home can also be good for the environment.”

State Farm has reached out to a noted hurricane expert to help educate homeowners about hurricane preparedness and encourage them to consider the environmental importance of proper storm preparation.  As a specialist in the study of the financial and societal costs of inadequate storm preparation, University of Miami natural resource economist Dr. David Letson has expressed his concern about the environmental impact of the devastating aftermath hurricanes leave behind.

“Obviously, the first thing we think about when a storm strikes our state is the human toll,” Letson said.  “But it’s crucial that we also consider the significant environmental hazards created by massive storm damage.”

“One of the most ‘green’ things you can do this hurricane season is to properly prepare your home against being destroyed by a strong storm,” Letson said.  “Although most of us are unable to completely guard against a major Category 4 or 5 storm, the damage that can be avoided through proper mitigation against a tropical storm or moderate hurricane is amazing.”

Letson reflected on the environmental impact of massive storms such as Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans in 2005: “In addition to the tragic losses, there was tremendous waste created by destroyed properties.  Huge amounts of energy and raw materials were also needed during the rebuilding efforts.” Letson shared the economic benefits of environmentally-focused hurricane mitigation at a recent panel discussion with state leaders about “Going Green Without Going Red.”

“Many of the hurricane mitigation options available to Floridians are affordable and cost effective,”. Letson said. 

In addition to fortifying their homes, Floridians can also make a small but important environmental difference by carefully selecting items to include in their hurricane kits.  Green items include solar-powered flashlights and radios, crank-powered lanterns, and food preserves produced by local vendors.  

Letson’s efforts are in line with State Farm’s statewide Green Initiative, launched earlier this year.  The program is a systematic approach to reducing waste and energy usage at State Farm office locations throughout Florida. 

In addition, State Farm is a sponsor of StormStruck, a state-of-the art exhibit at Innoventions at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort, whichputs park visitors inside a storm to experience the tremendous forces of nature.  It also educates participants on the positive impacts of hurricane mitigation.  For more information, visit http://www.stormstruck.org/.

“State Farm is a proud sponsor of StormStruck at Disney’s EPCOT,” said Jamie France.  “It’s a fun and educational way to for parents and children to learn about the importance of hurricane mitigation.”

To learn more about how to fortify a home against hurricanes, visit the Federal Alliance For Safe Homes( FLASH) at www.flash.org.  State Farm is a national sponsor of FLASH and supports its efforts to educate homeowners. 

State Farm Storm Response

Throughout the company’s 87-year history, State Farm has been committed to helping policyholders in their greatest time of need. 

“At State Farm, we handle more than 35,000 claims a day, and we do it better than anyone in the industry. In addition to our year-round, 24-hour a day claims service - we are also equally prepared for a major catastrophe,” said Catastrophe Claims Coordinator Jay Rooney. 

Rooney also urged Floridians to act before the storm to:

  • Protect family members by having a response plan ready, including plans to evacuate if necessary.
  • Minimize property losses by investing in hurricane mitigation, such as hurricane shutters, to fortify homes.
  • Keep important documents, such as your insurance policy and claims-reporting telephone numbers, in a safe place.  Keep originals in a safe deposit box. 

Note to media:
David Letson, Ph.D. is an economist and University of Miami Marine Affairs and Policy Professor at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.  In a 2007 research paper, the “Economic Value of Hurricane Forecasts: An Overview and Research Needs,” he argued the economic benefits of greater hurricane forecasting abilities. Letson is available for media interviews.  Please contact Barbra Gonzalez at 305-421-4704 to schedule an interview.

About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School
Founded in the 1940’s, the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit www.rsmas.miami.edu

Note to media:
Jay Rooney is the State Farm Florida Zone Catastrophe Coordinator.  With more than 18 years of claims experience, Rooney is an expert in the field of storm recovery.  Winter Haven-based Rooney is available for media interviews.  Please contact Justin Glover at 863-318-3088 to schedule an interview. 

About State Farm
State Farm® insures more cars and homes than any other insurer in the U.S., is the leading insurer of watercraft and is also a leading insurer in Canada. State Farm's 17,000 agents and 67,000 employees serve 80 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and more than 1.9 million bank accounts. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 32 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit statefarm.com® or in Canada statefarm.ca®.

Tags:
hurricane •  jamie france •  state farm •  environmental •  economics •  dr. david letson •