I watched the news as Hurricane Ian decimated Ft. Myers and the surrounding region on Florida’s Gulf Coast. I’ve spent a lot of time in Ft. Myers and on Sanibel Island as a result of my oldest son playing in several baseball tournaments down there. From June through September, it’s often a home away from home. As a result, I’ve gotten to know some pizzeria owners in the area. My stomach turned as I watched the storm wreak havoc.
It brought back memories of watching Hurricane Katrina devastate New Orleans — one of my favorite cities — in 2005. The loss of life in that weather event was catastrophic. My thoughts go out to the Floridians who are now rebuilding and coming to terms with the destruction Ian left behind.
Obviously, a loss of life is the first concern. After that, I got to thinking about the sheer financial damage caused by the surge. How long will business owners in the area be waiting for funding? How quickly will the insurance companies move to provide benefits? How many businesses will never reopen?
As I think of the pizzeria owners I know in and around Ft. Myers, the phrase “battle tested” comes to mind. Some of them have shared their stories with me over the years. Stories of barely getting by until their business took off. They sat on the floor at night and cried over finances, but eventually diligence and perseverance finally rewarded them.
Their resolve is being tested again. The road ahead of them isn’t easy. But I know they’ll rise to the occasion.
Like everyone else, I try to think about insurance as little as possible. But this alarm ringing loudly has grabbed my attention, as it should yours. If you haven’t reviewed your policies and coverage with your agent recently, now is a really good time to do that. Find out what would happen if your pizzeria burned to the ground tomorrow. Or if it sustained water damage. Are you covered in the event of a flood? Ask specific questions about what is and is not covered. The answers may surprise you. You may need to make some policy changes. Better now than asking these questions when an event takes out your knees.
Lastly, this is the time of year when Americans often turn their thoughts to being thankful for what we have. Chris Decker named his pizza recipe this month “Thankful and Grateful.” And, boy, it sure is a delicious one. Don’t miss it.
Editor In Chief