The wrath of Hurricane Florence caused widespread destruction in North Carolina causing billions of dollars of damages. Wilmington District employees were not immune from that destruction. Several received considerable damages to their homes and were displaced while their homes were or continue to be repaired.
Responding Strong Day was the idea of District Commander Col. Robert Clark. It was gradually modified by input from staff members. The event was set up with four sessions lasting 20-25 minutes in an "round robin" scenario. The first session included "Home Owners, Wind and Hail and Flood Insurance Explained" with an insurance expert who explained the intricacies of home policies in detail. The second session was "Disaster Preparedness, Home Disaster Planning and Safety” with Wilmington District Emergency Management Specialist Angela Zephier, Office of Safety Chief Bill Harris, and experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The third session was "How to Select a Good Contractor to Do Repair Work" that was presented by Joel Macon from the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors. The last session was titled "Getting to Know Your USACE Chaplain" with Chaplain (Col.) Raymond Robinson Jr., from Headquarters U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who explained his role as Command Chaplain.
More than 70 employees attended this first-ever event. Those who attended said that the event was invaluable because they learned something new that they were previously unaware of or were ill informed.
“During the insurance session, I learned that although having a policy for wind and hail is great, one may want to think of adding riders to the policy for unknown events,” said Andrea Green of Contracting.
Local insurance salesman Hernan Lois talked about the insurance industry and the questions that most homeowners don’t know to ask. He explained that there’s not a lot of difference between insurance companies, and that it pays to read the fine print on your policy.
“Hernan, was extremely informative,” said Contracting Officer Mike Mullen. “Never once did it feel as if he was there to do anything other than help us understand the claims process and be informed on how to best make decisions pertaining to insurance. His advice was great regarding flood insurance, understanding my current policy, and comparing the providers in our area.”
Mullen added that the discussion that hit home the most for him was understanding the claims cycle as he is currently struggling to get a fair and reasonable price from his insurance provider. He said he appreciated the district having experts who provided candid advice.
Terry Hester, also of Contracting, learned some invaluable information during the "How to Pick a Contractor" session that any construction work over $30,000 in North Carolina requires the contractor to have a license.
“I also learned that you can verify that license at the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors (NCLBGC) website,” he said. “From the ‘Home Owners Insurance’ session I learned that insurance companies will basically provide you with an initial check, but you still have the opportunity to claim actual costs once the work has been completed.”