Hurricane Harvey TWIA Mobile Claims Centers for Coastal Bend

TWIA_Agent_Bulletin

Dear Friends

The TWIA Mobile Claims Centers are open today in Corpus Christi and Rockport. TWIA staff are onsite assisting policyholders with claim filing, claim status inquiries, and advance claim payments. Spanish-speaking staff are on site as well. Both locations will be open daily, 8AM-6PM.

Corpus Christi Location 
Lindale Recreation Center
3133 Swantner Street
Corpus Christi, Texas 78404

Rockport Location
GSM Insurers
1102 East Laurel Street
Rockport, Texas 78382

Or you can continue to report your claim toll free at
877-281-1431 (English) or 866-443-3144 (Spanish).

Because we care,

Ed Cantu

p.s. Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edcantuinsurance/?ref=br_rs&pnref=lhc

 

How to Choose a Contractor after the Storm?

Friends,

We hope you and your family are safe and sustained minimal if any damage with Hurricane Harvey.

Please know that after a disaster, sales people often go from door-to-door canvassing neighborhoods to generate new business for their cleanup and repair services. While many of these people are honest and reputable, some may not have your best interest at heart. Below is a recommended list of steps to take in order to protect yourself as a homeowner:

After you file your claim, contact the insurance adjuster assigned to your property damage claim and ask the adjuster to make an estimate of the damage and the probable cost to repair. This will provide you with a benchmark estimate prepared by a professional that you can use when negotiating with contractors.

Use a local contractor when possible…Check all references when considering a contractor, especially if the contractor comes to your door and offers to do repairs. Inquire about the contractor’s professional reputation by talking with banks, building material suppliers, the contractor’s previous customers, the Homebuilder’s Association, and the Better Business Bureau. Also, be sure to use only reliable, licensed contractors. And make sure they are familiar with and abide by our Coastal Building Codes and that the will provide you a Texas Department of Insurance Windstorm Certificate (WPI8). If they don’t know what that is, you should avoid giving them your business!

Don’t be rushed into signing a contract with a contractor. It is a good practice to collect many business cards, interview several contractors, and request multiple bids for comparison. Make sure to read the fine print on all estimates and contracts.

Beware of building contractors that encourage you to spend a lot of money on temporary repairs. While payments for reasonable temporary repairs are covered as part of the total insurance claim settlement, you don’t want to pay a contractor too large a sum for temporary repairs, since this may deplete the total amount of money you will need for the permanent repairs to be completed.

Hire local licensed contractors when possible, as it is easier to deal with a local contractor if problems develop. However, since it may not always be possible to deal with local contractors in a disaster situation where local contractors are swamped with repair business, make sure to thoroughly check references as discussed in point number two.

Get everything the contractor discusses in writing. Make sure that the contract is well written. If the contractor provides guarantees, they should be written into the contract clearly stating what is guaranteed, who is responsible for the guarantee, and how long the guarantee is valid. Also, if changes or modifications occur in the contract terms, they should be acknowledged by all parties in writing.

Never sign a contract with blanks that have not been filled in as the blanks could be filled in later with unacceptable terms.

Consider having a lawyer review the proposed contract for your protection before you sign, if substantial costs are involved.

Never pay a contractor for the entire project in advance or before the work is completed. It is a good idea to pay by check instead of cash because you can retain your cashed check as a receipt.

Be especially suspicious of door-to-door sales people who make unrealistically low estimates, refuse to leave a contract overnight, or try to sell their services by playing on your emotions.

Remember that Federal law requires a three-day “cooling off” period for unsolicited door-to-door sales of more than $25.00!

If you decide to cancel a signed contract, it should be canceled within three business days of signing. Be sure to follow the agreement stated in the cancellation clause of the contract. Written notification should be sent by registered mail, so you have proof of canceling the contract.

Ask the contractor if he/she carries general liability and workers compensation insurance. Request a certificate of insurance (COI) from the contractor you choose that shows the name of the insurance company, policy number and policy limits the contractor carries. You may contact the insurance company directly to verify information on the COI. Do not do business with a contractor who does not carry the appropriate insurance coverage. If the contractor is not insured, you may be liable for accidents that occur on your property.

Keep a job file containing all papers related to work being done. This file could include the signed contract and any change orders, plans and specifications, bills and invoices, canceled checks, certificates of insurance, lien releases from subcontractors and material suppliers, a record sheet on each contractor listing the work performed, the estimated length of the job, and any letters, notes, or correspondence of any kind with the contractor.

If excavation work is being performed, such as sewers, make sure a building inspector or observer inspects the work before it is hidden from view. An independent assessment may help avoid similar problems from occurring in the future by identifying problems now, allowing needed modifications to be made before construction continues.

Unfortunately, delays happen in construction projects. Although you may clearly understand the terms of your contract, the contractor may experience circumstances (such as weather) that prevent the construction work from remaining on schedule. This is just a normal part of a construction project, however, as the homeowner, it is up to you to monitor the progress of the project.
We hope this has been helpful information to you. Please forward it on to those that are close to you.

Because we Care,

Your Ed Cantu Insurance Protection Team:

Ed Cantu
Robin, Gabby, Stephanie, Meghan and Brittany

P.s. Please share this vital information with someone you care for… We just did.

Ed Cantu Insurance Agency
(361) 991-1493
7122 S. Staples St.
Corpus Christi, TX 78413

A Hurricane So Destructive That They Retired Her Name! Are you Ready

There are days in our lives that effect us forever and even forty-seven years later, we are able to remember things about that day like it just happened yesterday.

Celia name

Her name was Celia and she was the only hurricane to strike the United States in 1970! Hurricane Celia pounded the Corpus Christi area with sustained winds of 125 mph and gusts up to 175 mph on Aug. 3, 1970. Celia moved past the western tip of Cuba on her way into the center of the Gulf of Mexico as just a tropical depression. From there, Celia became a hurricane with sustained winds of 115 mph during the evening of Aug 1st. She was originally expected to hit Galveston and even lost wind strength over the next day with sustained winds dropping to 100 mph before she spiked again and then struck the Corpus Christi on Sunday, Aug. 3.

The National Weather Service reported gusts reaching 160 mph and she caused more than $450 million in damage (more than $7 Billion in today’s money).  Hurricane Celia destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, Aransas Pass, Portland, Ingleside and Rockport.

I was only in elementary school but what our citizens saw that day, and more importantly, what we saw the next several days following that day, made us aware of how important it is to be prepared during Hurricane Season.  It wasn’t my family’s first catastrophic storm.  My Grandparents and Great Grandparents survived Corpus Christi’s infamous storm of 1919 and my Mom and Dad had seen their share of storms as well so they knew what to do.  Do You know what to do?  Are you Ready?

Unlike thousands of folks in Corpus Christi, my family was fortunate that we only received minimal property damage. Yet like tens of thousands of other Corpus Christian’s we were without electricity for two weeks after the storm and I will never forget how hot and humid it was.  If you think water boils are an inconvenience, you’ve got a lot to do to prepare yourself and your loved ones before our next big storm strikes!

Are you Ready?  Now is the time to prepare and to know what precautions are necessary:

  • Fill your Hurricane Kit.
  • Plan your evacuation route and decide today what will trigger your plan into motion.
  • Discuss your Plan with your family, friends and loved ones.

Don’t think it can happen to you?  Check out this historic 1970 film of Corpus Christi taken the day after Hurricane Celia made landfall. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCZUCJMiZvA&feature=youtu.be

This film can’t duplicate the fear, the heat, nor the humidity that we felt nor can it duplicate the smells that we experienced from the thousands of tons of debris that Hurricane Celia left behind but you can see second hand the destruction that she left.  It may help you better understand just how important preparedness is and how important it is that you have the right windstorm and flood insurance protection.  Call Ed Cantu Insurance Agency today at 361 991-3575 for help before it’s too late!

Because we care,

Ed Cantu

p.s. check out www.edcantuinsurance.com for additional Hurricane Preparedness information including a special report from Hurricane Expert Dr. Steve Lyons!