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Local business to revisit insurance policy before hurricane season approaches

May 18, 2018
By MEGHAN McCOY (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

A few days before Hurricane Irma blew through Southwest Florida, Merrick Seafood owners closed their three businesses for a few days to prepare, as well as to allow their employees time to take care of their homes and families.

"Everyone pitched in and ran trucks around to employees and families' houses to board up. A lot of employees evacuated," Pat Krieg, who owns the businesses with his wife Kerry, said. "They (employees) helped us, too. Everyone came to the store to help tighten us up."

They prepared the wholesale store, fish market and restaurant by moving a great deal of inventory, as well as consolidating it in case the power went down.

"We were able to keep some of our product longer in a few less coolers, or freezers," Pat said.

In addition, they unplugged every nonessential piece of equipment to help protect it from damage.

With the precautionary measures taken, they fared better than many. They still had some damage to the building and lost a lot of product, though.

"No one got hurt, thank God," he said.

The business suffered roof damage, the overhang got ripped apart, as well as failure of equipment during a power surge. Pat said it fried a compressor.

"We weren't paid to repair the roof. We did our best to get leaks patched," he said.

They fixed a walk in freezer and cooler that went down during the storm, as well as their sign.

The businesses were closed a couple days following Hurricane Irma because many employees could not make it back to town, local boats were not out fishing and trucks were not coming into town. A few weeks following the storm, things started running a little smoother, Pate said.

One lesson learned was that what they thought would be covered in terms of loss of income was not.

"Unfortunately, the insurance companies did not pay out," Pat said. "We found out the hard way that we need a business interruption policy."

He said insurance covered the cost of some spoilage.

"It's difficult because the deductibles are so high . . . $40,000 deductible before you see dollar one," Pat said.

Now looking forward to this hurricane season, he said they will revisit their insurance policy and buy more plywood in advance, as well as screws that goes into the bolts and nuts with hanging shutters.

They will also take some of the same actions as last year, such as giving everyone time to evacuate and prepare their homes, as well as stocking up on plenty of water and ice for family, friends and employees.

"We did the right thing that way," Pat said.

Merrick Seafood was hit by Hurricane Charley before the Kriegs took over the business. Now, looking back at his first real experience of a hurricane, Pat said the anticipation made them anxious of not knowing what to expect with flooding.

"The storm surge was definitely scary. We were very blessed to not have any more damage," Pat said.

 
 
 

 

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