Bell Claims

 

Earthquake Tips:

 

Trinidad sits on top of a very shaky fault line, and the risk of earthquakes remain high. From historical to more recent events throughout the world, we know earthquakes can be extremely disruptive and as they happen without any warning, being prepared in advance is critical to minimize damages and loss.

 

We stress for you to consider these earthquake safety tips:

 

Before an Earthquake

 

  • Know your Risk. See if you live or work near an active fault line and whether the ground around where you live is more susceptible to an earthquake

 

  • Retrofit and Reinforce. Take steps to reinforce your house/office by bolting the building to the foundation and use reinforced support beams if needed.

 

  • Secure your surroundings.  Shaky furniture such as bookshelves, cabinets should be secured to the walls to minimize risk of falling over during a quake. Ensure always cabinet doors are closed to help contents from falling out.

 

  • Disaster Plan. Create a disaster plan to protect your family and your employees. Simply by knowing where to take cover in a house or office and how to communicate with eachother after an event or where to meet after shaking stops can signaifcantlly reduce anxiety.

 

  • Forward Plan. It is unpredictable how significant an earthquake can affect you. Putting together an ample emergency kit with perishable food, water, first aid supplies, blankets, flashlights, batteries etc. is necessary and should be easily accessible in the office and/or house should you ever need it.

 

  • Insurance policy. As we live in an earthquake prone island, it is important to investigate obtaining insurance to protect you in the event of a physical loss. This will give you the piece of mind to recover the damages for what can be a life changing event.

 

During an Earthquake

 

  • Avoid. Stay away from windows and furniture that can fall over, or where debris can hit you.

 

  • Take cover. Get under sturdy tables or desks to avoid getting hit by anything. If you can’t find safe cover during the rumble protect your head and neck with your arms.

 

  • Don’t run outside. Do not try and go outside until after the shaking stops. You are safer inside under a sturdy table than attempting to leave a building during an earthquake.

 

After an Earthquake

 

  • Aftershocks. Earthquakes are usually followed by aftershocks that follow the main event and can last for up to weeks after the event. Be prepared for these.

 

  • Leaking gas. Check your gas lines for leaks. If you smell gas leaking, turn off the gas if possible and call the gas company to check. Do not use an open flame in your house until you are sure it is safe.

 

  • Damaged wiring. If you see damaged wiring shut off the power in your office or house.

 

  • Shoes on. There may be broken glass or spilled chemicals on the floor. Don’t walk without shoes on until the floor is safe and clean.

 

Your insurance. If your insurance policy covers earthquake damage, make sure you take photos or video of the damage to use in the claim process. Read our Claim Procedures to see what additional information is needed in completing the process. 

 

Hurricane Tips:

 

Trinidad and Tobago lies just outside the Atlantic Hurricane Belt, and our islands have escaped major impacts of Hurricanes / Windstorms that our neighbouring islands have endured. However the risk still exists and we must be prepared to handle such an event.

 

Before a Hurricane:

 

  • Purchase enough Insurance. Speak to your Broker about if your limits are sufficient and your deductibles are realistic. If you have a policy but have made an alteration to your home /office, or purchased additional contents, notify us so we can ensure the value to be covered is reflected in your policy.

 

  • Plan. Have a good evacuation / survival plan. Unlike Earthquakes, we have more planning time before a Hurricane or Storms lands, so ensure you have emergency supplies, photographs, medicines, insurance policies, important print material, gas in your car, charged cell phones and ensure freezers are on coldest setting in case power goes out.

 

  • Hurricane Proofing. Install storm shutters to protect your windows or use plywood panels and nail to the frames. Ensure doors are secured with all hinges. Seal wall openings such as vents, A/C units. Remove outdoor furniture, bicycles, lawn items and trim trees as these items can cause major damage. Park your car in a covered garage if possible.

 

  • Contact Information. Use downtime before the storm to ensure you have all your loved ones contact information, and employers ensure you have all employees, banks and your insurance brokers contact information and a way to communicate after the storm.

 

  • Contingency Planning. Have an alternative site for business operations should your office be affected after the storm. Ensure the alternative site is equipped with the necessary equipment to continue operations.

 

  • Data security and protection. Continually back up files and use off site and secure storage of important hard copy documentation if you can.

 

  • Connect. You can stay ahead by downloading some essential health and safety apps to help keep track of hurricanes, locate resources and find help.

 

  • Protect the Boat. Remove your boat or transfer to a designated safe area, using rope or chain to secure to a trailer. Use your anchor to tie down further.

 

  • Listen. Listen to your radios/news for official instructions about relocating or moving to designated neighborhood shelters.

 

During the storm:

 

  • Stay Inside. Keep away from windows, skylights and glass doors.

 

  • Lost electricity. If you lose power, turn off all major appliances. Too many running appliances can create a power surge when the power is turned back on.

 

  • Emergency evacuate. If ordered to leave, go as soon as possible and avoid flooded roads.

 

  • Reach out to others. Try to let your friends or family know where you are going if you must leave your house.

 

 

After the event:

 

  • Give help. Help injured or trapped persons and give help where you can.

 

  • Power lines. Avoid loose or dangling power lines, and report them immediately to the police.

 

  • Beware of reentering home. Enter your home with caution. Beware of snakes, insects and animals driven to higher ground by rising floodwater.

 

  • Inspect lines and leaks. Inspect utilities for gas leaks and damage to electrical work, water and sewer lines

 

  • Ventilate. Remove plywood, shutters and open your windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.

 

  • Your insurance claim. Take pictures or video of storm damage, both to the house and its contents, for insurance claims. Read our Claims Procedures to get the necessary information to start the claims process.

 

  • Assess Damage. Make temporary repairs to prevent further destruction. Hold off doing any permanent repairs until your insurance adjuster approves your reimbursement.

 

  • Hold on to Receipts. Keep all receipts related to repairs and temporary housing.

 

  • Minimal driving. Drive only if absolutely necessary, and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges until you are told by authorities it is safe.

 

  • Preserve cellphone battery. If power is out or intermittent after the storm, use your cellphone only for emergency calls.