Is It OK to Repo if there’s a Mandatory Evacuation?

From the desk of: Recovery Specialist Insurance Group

Ahead of Hurricane Irma, currently a Category 5 Hurricane in the Atlantic, Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for the entire state.  Hurricane Harvey barrelled down on the Gulf coast last week and dumped significant rains throughout the Gulf States, many governments declared states of emergency and had mandatory evacuation notices in place for the safety of their local businesses and residents. But what does this mean for repossessions in those areas?

In our opinion, there are 3 important things to think about here…

  1. In many states it is against the law to enter into an area that is under a mandatory evacuation. While law enforcement or National Guard units may not go door to door to forcibly remove residents who refuse to leave their homes; they do have the authority to arrest anyone trying to go in to those areas.
  2. Your client spends millions of dollars each year to build and maintain a pretty face. You can destroy all they worked and paid for with just one repo during the wrong time such as an approaching storm.
  3. Repossession during a Hurricane when there is likely to be wide spread devastation is a public relations nightmare for both you and your client. No one wants to see a debtor on the evening news saying you or your client is responsible for them not being able to evacuate their home or standing in front of the grocery store with a cart of supplies and no vehicle to put them.  Many lenders may choose to put a temporary hold on accounts for those in the affected areas. You will want to be sure an account is still open prior to repossessing it to avoid wrongful repossession claims if you continue to repossess until conditions become such that you cannot.

While the news outlets often dramatize situations to make things interesting to the viewer with powerful graphics and terms like “Biggest Flood Threat of Any Storm in Modern Times” and satellite images that showed a storm “About To Swallow the State of Texas” the severity of this storm and the potential damages were not exaggerated.  Harvey was a huge storm and Hurricane Irma is equally threatening, heading to areas that often are faced with these types of winds and rain amounts.  For your safety and that of your employees, you should establish a plan and stick to it.  Halt repossession activities as of a certain time – well in advance of the storm, establish a clear plan and process for emergency communication.

We constantly say that no repossession is worth a human life…keep this to heart as the storm approaches and as recovery efforts are underway.  Our recommendation is to not push your luck, you may need it during the storm yourself.  Be Safe.

 

RSIG is an insurance purchasing group for repossession agency owners; writing repossession agency exposures exclusively for almost 30 years.  Our program is stable, dependable and reliable, giving repossession agency owners the confidence they need to know that their insurance needs are being understood without fear of having to shop insurers year after year.  Because of our experience in the industry we are able to help repossession agency owners when other insurance providers have not.  To learn more about Recovery Specialist Insurance Group, call 703.365.0199 or visit our website www.rsig.com.

 

 

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