February 3, 2013

Inside Insurance: Let’s not be complacent out there

I never cease to be amazed by how bad weather always seems to appear unexpectedly for so many of us.

The calendar noted the end of January, but that’s not important to Mother Nature. Just when you think it is safe to take it easy, a tornado blasts its way through North Georgia and leaves a $75 million path of destruction through the Calhoun area.

When severe weather is indicated awareness is vital. Second, we must take preventive measures as opposed to “Well, let’s just see what happens.” From major hurricanes to severe thunderstorm warnings, the same outcome recurs.

News media reports over and over something like this. “The family was asleep when the tornado hit.”

“There were no radios or TVs on so the family missed the warnings.”

“There was a hurricane party underway and the apartment residents where not aware of the eminent danger.”

This is where the rubber meets the road. In the middle of the night when no radios or TVs are on, how is one to know what’s about to happen even if broadcast warnings are issued? Tornado sirens are not always available.

The one thing that is widely available is the emergency weather radio with alerts from the National Weather Service. All the great radars the TV and radio stations have provide no help when we are not watching or listening.

While insurers, weather forecasters and broadcast outlets attempt to communicate with the public about the importance of preparedness, there seems to always be at least some who died or was seriously injured because of a lack of awareness.

The precautions are every bit as important as the actions one takes after the incident occurs. Consider the potential deadly results when severe weather strikes. Likely the power may be out before your home is in harm’s way. The TV is out, plugged in radios are useless and the only protection one has is a battery-powered AM/FM radio or a weather alert radio short of a back-up generator that automatically starts when the power fails.

Emergency management agencies at the local, state and federal levels always preach about the importance of preparedness. Too often, these warnings go to “I’ll get to it soon.”

More and better ways of communications help as well. Emergency weather apps for smartphones, tablets and computers are only good if the equipment is on. That gets us back to awareness.

The importance of preparedness cannot be overstated, but a lack of preparedness can be fatal. Contact your local emergency management agency or emergency responders about where you can get more information. Check out,, or your local emergency management agency for helpful information on preparedness, evacuation and after the disaster information.

Do it while it is fresh in your mind. Be organized, prepared and rehearsed. That will help you and your family to know what to do when severe weather or other calamities occur.

David Colmans is the executive director of the Georgia Insurance Information Service. Contact him at (770) 565-3806 or by email at

Text Only
  • Metro Dalton’s unemployment rate up to 8.8 percent in May

    The unemployment rate for Metro Dalton — Whitfield and Murray counties — increased to 8.8 percent in May, up from 8.2 percent in April, the Georgia Department of Labor said Thursday.

    June 26, 2014

  • Powells back open 1 mlh.jpg Town Square Cafe carries on Powell’s tradition

    The sign above the door at 116 W. King St. may be different, but many of the faces inside remain the same.
    Jenny Lynch, owner of the Town Square Cafe, said she has retained many of the staff and even some of the recipes from Powell’s Country Kitchen, which had been a downtown Dalton landmark in the building since 1979.

    June 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Region earns ‘manufacturing community’ designation

    Northwest Georgia, including Whitfield and Murray counties, has been chosen as one of 12 regions nationwide that could get federal funds to sustain and expand manufacturing.

    June 1, 2014

  • Siegle, James-ColOR.jpg Synthetic turn pioneer Jim Siegle dies

    He was known as “The Grand Gentleman of Turf.”

    May 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Metro Dalton’s jobless rate falls again

    Metro Dalton’s unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent in April, down from 8.6 percent in March, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

    May 22, 2014

  • Community & Southern Holdings to acquire Alliance National Bank

    Community & Southern Holdings Inc. said Friday it has reached an agreement to acquire Alliance Bancshares Inc. and its subsidiary, Alliance National Bank.

    May 16, 2014

  • Biz expo '14 2 mlh.jpg At energetic expo, local business owners see signs of economic rebound

    “You give it your all.”
    That’s the biggest lesson Hank Fetzer says he learned after he helped start a business last year with his father Stan. But the importance of having drive, something his father taught him, also meant his father was someone he “didn’t see much” growing up.

    May 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Carolyn Roan: What are you looking for?

    In my last column, I wrote about how important it is to get pre-qualified for a loan before starting a new home search. If you’re a seller you also need to understand the thought processes that buyers go through when they’re choosing a new home.

    April 25, 2014

  • Feds: home health company paying $150M settlement

    Amedisys Inc., a Baton Rouge-based home health company with operations in Whitfield and Murray counties, will pay $150 million to resolve allegations that it inflated Medicare billings and had improper financial relationships with referring physicians, the U.S. Department of Justice said this week.

    April 24, 2014

  • Metro Dalton’s unemployment rate declines to 8.6 percent in March

    The Georgia Department of Labor said today that Metro Dalton’s unemployment rate decreased to 8.6 percent in March, down from 9.1 percent in February. The rate was 10.4 percent in March a year ago.

    April 24, 2014