Confidence after chaos
Recovering from Tornado Damage
Picture of tornado damage
Even before hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria hit, 2017 was a year of large-scale weather disasters. A historic tornado outbreak in January brought 81 tornadoes blazing through eight southern states and three FCCI regions: Southeast, Gulf Coast and Florida.
For Randy Henry, owner of Randy Henry Contracting, Inc. (RHC), it was an uncertain time. He had just recently switched his commercial insurance coverage when, on Sunday, January 22, a massive and severe tornado barreled across Albany, Georgia — and Randy’s business. As the largest winter tornado on record, the storm claimed five lives, injured more than 50 people, and destroyed nearly 100 percent of the trees in its path. The morning after the storm hit, Mark Kwiatkowski, FCCI’s Managing Director of Claims in the Southeast Region, had a trip planned from his home in Lawrenceville, Georgia, to FCCI’s Home Office in Sarasota, Florida. When he heard about the damage to RHC, he decided that a detour to the policyholder was imperative. On his way, Mark picked up Randy’s insurance agent, Louis Bridges of J. Smith Lanier & Co. Along their route to reach Randy, they saw overturned cars, blown-off roofs and uprooted trees. Helicopters circled, surveying the area and searching for missing community members. Albany had been utterly devastated. When Mark and Louis arrived at RHC, they found half of the building crushed and the roof gone. More than 40 of Randy’s employees were there, unsure of where to start. To add to the chaos, a semi from the neighboring business a quarter mile away had been picked up and dropped in front of the RHC building. Mark, Louis and Randy met in a cold, dark room, holding flashlights. Randy expressed concern that as a new FCCI policyholder, he wasn’t sure whether his business would be saved. Mark put him at ease immediately, assuring him that his policy would be honored. “It doesn’t matter if you have been with us for 20 years or one day,” Mark said. “You are an FCCI policyholder.” Mark and Louis helped Randy make a plan for the week, which included securing a demolition contractor and much more. With the plan set, Mark continued on his trip to FCCI’s Home Office. He returned three days later, with an advanced check for $100,000 to help get Randy started on the road to rebuild. Brad Thompson, FCCI General Property Adjuster, Southeast Region took over the claim from there and worked with Randy through the entire process of cleanup, demo, and equipment recovery to help put RHC back in business.
Randy quickly realized that his short tenure with FCCI didn’t matter. It also didn’t matter that, because J. Smith Lanier & Co. was originally an Alabama agency, the policy was actually written as an FCCI Gulf Coast Region account. Mark and Brad, both FCCI Southeast Region teammates, were the closest to RHC, and they were All In. “No matter where the losses are, who the agent is, or where the regional line falls, we are one team,” Mark said. “We all work together.”
Tornado damage at Randy Henry Contracting (RHC) in Albany, Ga.
“I plan to stay with FCCI forever.”
Randy Henry, RHC, FCCI policyholder
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