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PIA Agents From Florida Offer Assistance in Katrina Aftermath

One year after their state was hit by four hurricanes in one season, some PIA agents in Florida are headed out to help their agent...
September 6, 2005

One year after their state was hit by four hurricanes in one season, some PIA agents in Florida are headed out to help their agent colleagues in areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Former PIA of Florida President Ed Langston from Orlando plans to load up a vehicle with emergency supplies and visit PIA agencies in southern Mississippi later this week. Langston is taking food and water, along with laptops. He also rented several satellite phones that agents who are still without telephone service can use to contact their families, carriers and insureds. PIA National donated $1,000 to help pay for renting the satellite phones. "We want to show PIA members in other states that we're all in this together," Langston told PIA National.

PIA of Florida member Duane Gilmore left for Texas early Monday morning to pick up a front end loader. He is planning on dropping off supplies on his way out and then help as long as the gas supply holds on his way back with the front end loader. Gilmore says he's planning on trying to visit PIA agencies in southern Louisiana. He said he has a list of addresses of some agencies that no one has been able to contact and he'll try to drive by, see if they're still there, and offer assistance.

The unfortunate experiences of Florida residents in last year's hurricanes provided valuable lessons being put to use now, according to PIA of Florida communications director Mary Frederick. "The staff and members of Professional Insurance Agents of Florida learned a great deal from the storms of 2004 and want to share our lessons and knowledge with anyone in need. We have shared access to our Hurricane Resource Center with the members of PIA of Louisiana and PIA of Mississippi with instructions to share with any agent in need. PIA of Florida's Hurricane Resource Center is jammed packed full of disaster-related topics with access normally limited to PIA of Florida members."

PIA of Florida staff found its Panhandle agents heaving huge sighs of relief. They called members in Escambia, Okaloosa, and Walton counties. Everyone was fine, moderate claims activity has been reported. Calls to Dade, Broward, and Monroe county PIA agencies show that claims are manageable, with scattered power and water outages. Hurricane Katrina had passed over South Florida as a Category One hurricane, before intensifying to a deadly Category Five storm and drawing a bead on the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

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