Honolulu (KHON2) – Zephyr Insurance is now offering virtual claims inspections during the pandemic for the current hurricane season.

Zephyr Insurance President and CEO Tim Johns joined Living808 to explain how virtual claims inspections work.

Zephyr Insurance is the leading provider of residential hurricane coverage in Hawaii. Following Hurricane Iniki in 1992 (estimated $3 billion in damage), insurance companies refused to sell hurricane/wind insurance coverage to Hawaii homeowners that put them at risk. Zephyr is locally funded and was established to fill the void and is responsible for reestablishing Hawaii’s hurricane insurance market and allowing things to “return” back to normal.

“In the event of a hurricane, the first priority for residents is to insure their own safety and the safety of their family, the next step is to inspect and protect their property,” advises Johns. “If their home has sustained damage, they should begin taking photos to document the damage or loss and contact their insurance agent or provider to file a claim. If Zephyr is your insurance provider, you will be contacted by an adjuster to begin the claim process which normally would include a visit to your home. But with the use of technology, we’re happy to announce that we’ve made the claims process easier and safer.”

As a result of COVID-19, Zephyr Insurance implemented several new policies to ensure service to customers during this unprecedented time, including the new virtual claims process.

“Through the use of an app or browser, we can do virtual inspections to determine the severity of a loss,” explains Johns. “This technology allows the adjuster to guide the customer with the use of a mobile device camera to capture photos and videos of sustained damage. These photos and videos are immediately secured by GPS information and used to create a photo report of damages. It’s a very quick and seamless process.”

Hawaii law does not require homeowners to have hurricane insurance, but most financial institutions require hurricane insurance as a condition of the loan if your home is mortgaged. The three (3) types of insurance policies that homeowners may have are:

1. Homeowners Insurance: Provides coverage for damage to your house, any permanent structures on your property and personal items. Most policies exclude damage caused by hurricanes and floods. In Hawaii, if you carry a mortgage on your home you are required to have homeowners insurance.

2. Hurricane Insurance: If you have a mortgage on your home, you are also required to have hurricane insurance coverage. This is a separate policy that provides coverage for damage to you home that is caused by hurricane winds. The policy does not cover flooding from streams or other flowing water.

3. Flood Insurance: Having a flood insurance policy will provide coverage for damage caused by storm surges, overflowing streams and other types of flowing water. This is additional coverage if it is not included under your homeowners insurance. 

Johns has this word of warning since we’re in hurricane season. He stresses “It’s important to remember, that the moment a hurricane watch or warning is issued by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, there are two major things that happen to your insurance policies – portions of your homeowners insurance shuts off and your hurricane insurance begins. It also means that a moratorium is put in place and we can no longer write new policies. “

Website:  www.zephyrinsurance.com