Hurricane Season: Is Your Community Association Ready?

Siegfried Rivera
June 27, 2024


The 2024 hurricane season started on June 1st, and associations must prepare and stay prepared for what is forecasted to be a very active season. Proper preparation can avoid confusion and reduce the risk of damage to the property or delay recovery. Here are our six top preparation tips for associations:

1. Develop a Comprehensive Emergency Plan

A well-thought-out emergency plan is essential. The plan should include:

  • Clearly map out and communicate the best routes for evacuation.
  • Establish a reliable way to contact residents and emergency services.
  • Assign specific tasks to board members and residents, such as securing outdoor furniture, managing communications, and checking on vulnerable residents.
  • Review the “emergency powers” section of the Condominium Act, which grants emergency powers to the board of directors of a condominium association. These powers are designed to ensure the safety and protection of the condominium property and residents during and after an emergency, such as a hurricane.
  • Establish the proper protocol for shutting off mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and who is responsible for performing the task.

Call our attorneys for specific suggestions regarding your association’s emergency plan!

2. Secure Property and Assets

Preventive measures can significantly reduce damage:

  • Ensure roofs, windows, doors and walls are in good condition. Consider installing storm shutters or impact-resistant windows.
  • Remove or tie down outdoor furniture, decorations and equipment that could become projectiles in high winds.
  • Store association records and essential documents in a safe, waterproof location.
  • Move electric vehicles to higher garage levels to prevent potential electrical fires.
  • If a construction project is underway, understand your contractor’s emergency plan, knowing how they intend to protect the area and remove swing stages and materials.

Call our attorneys for specific suggestions regarding securing the association’s property and assets!

3. Stock Up on Essential Supplies

Ensure that your association is well-equipped with essential supplies:

  • Stock each property with basic supplies such as first-aid kits, flashlights, batteries and non-perishable food items.
  • Have backup power sources available and ensure they are maintained and ready for use.
  • Store adequate drinking water for all residents and additional water for sanitation needs.

4. Review Insurance Policies

Insurance can be the safety net that helps your association recover more quickly:

  • Review your current insurance policies to ensure the coverage for hurricane and flood-related damage that may result from a hurricane.
  • Maintain an up-to-date inventory of all association assets and property, including photos/videos and descriptions, to simplify the claims process. It may be worthwhile for your association to hire a professional to take a video of all the common areas, furniture, fixtures and equipment that the association owns and may be damaged during the hurricane. This will be invaluable in establishing the association’s damages in the event of a claim.
  • Consider using a drone to capture images of the exterior of your property, including your roof. This is critical in the claim process, as your property insurance carrier will likely only pay the “Actual Cash Value” of the roof and other building components, even if the association has a “Replacement Cost” policy.
  • Ensure you understand how to file a claim and the required documentation so you can act quickly. Hire the right professionals, such as our firm and the construction/engineering professionals we use, to assist your association in documenting the damage and filing an insurance claim that complies with Florida law.

5. Communicate and Educate Residents

Keeping residents informed and involved is critical:

  • Provide regular updates about preparations and procedures through newsletters, meetings and digital platforms.
  • Ensure all residents have a list of emergency contacts, including association representatives, local emergency services and utility companies.
  • Offer training or informational sessions on hurricane preparedness, including how to shut off utilities and basic first aid.
  • Assist them in documenting the condition of their units so that they can make claims under any policies they may have.

6. Understand the Claims Process

At Siegfried Rivera, we have been assisting community associations with hurricane claims since 1977 and have a wealth of experience successfully handling hundreds of claims. We have witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly of insurance claims and the predatory people who descend on associations when a storm hits. Preparing for the inevitable and complex claim process with all the somewhat draconian procedures recently enacted to limit claims against your insurance carrier is critical.

First, let’s address what you should do:

  • Contact Siegfried Rivera first to discuss your damages, insurance policy and the claims process before entering into any agreements with consultants or restoration companies.
  • Contact your insurance agent to assist with the claim process along with Siegfried Rivera.
    • In large storms where numerous properties have sustained losses, the carriers will hire adjusters to come to your property and assess the damage they believe the association has incurred. While they are not working for the association, in most situations, after evaluating the damage sustained, they will prepare a damage assessment and often write a check to the association based on their loss valuation. The advance payment may also include payment to the association to hire a restoration company to perform emergency repairs to preserve and protect the association’s common areas.

What you should not do:

  • Do not sign contracts for emergency repairs or to prepare claims without first contacting the attorneys at Siegfried Rivera.
  • Avoid retaining a restoration company that works for insurance companies. Be careful, as these restoration companies may promise the “world” but may not deliver on their verbal promises and ask the association to sign an unconscionable contract that may be binding. Do not sign such agreements without involving Siegfried Rivera and your management company to ensure you are dealing with a reputable local restoration company with fair agreements and the resources to prioritize services for your community.
  • Avoid claims consultants that will descend upon your property and promise the world but deliver little. Be cautious of “consultants” that may claim that they have “connections” with insurance companies, claim that they can get the association the most for their loss and fast, but require the association to sign onerous contracts that require payment of 10%-20% of payments the carrier was willing to pay without such consultants.
    • Associations should be patient and thoughtful during this critical time. Before making a rash decision and signing a contract that could cost tens of thousands or even millions in unnecessary payments, discuss your options with your attorney at Siegfried Rivera. Let us guide you through the claim process. Understanding that times of loss cause a feeling of desperation, “consultants” prey on distressed victims who are likely so hyper-focused on resolving the problem that they can make a costly mistake. NEVER sign a contract without having an attorney review it first. It’s in your best interest and that of your association.


By following these tips, your association can significantly enhance its readiness for the 2024 hurricane season. Proper preparation not only helps to protect property but also ensures the safety and well-being of all residents. Stay proactive, stay informed, and stay safe.

Remember: The best time to prepare is now! Don’t wait until a storm is on the horizon. Taking these steps today can make all the difference when a hurricane strikes. And, if you have specific and unique concerns that apply to your association, rest assured that the attorneys at Siegfried Rivera are here to help.