Katzman Garfinkel & Berger & Community Advocacy Network Make Available Community Association Hurricane Preparedness Guide

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Florida Community Association Boards, Managers, Cities & Counties Urged to Prepare for Disaster Contingencies in Advance of Active 2011 Storm Season. Law Firm Founding Partner Launches LinkedIn® “Community Association Damage Claims and Recovery” Group as Property Insurance Claims Resource.

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The Florida Legislature just shortened the time frame to file a property damage claim from 5 years to 3 years making it even more crucial that boards be prepared to act quickly and decisively when disaster strikes.

Anticipating the June 1st start of an active 2011 Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season, the Florida community association law firm of Katzman Garfinkel & Berger (http://www.kgblawfirm.com) and the Community Advocacy Network (http://www.canfl.com) today released their annual “Community Association Hurricane Preparedness Guide” to help Florida community associations protect their properties and safeguard community residents during what experts say will be a significantly more active storm season this year.

The KG&B-CAN updated “Community Association Hurricane Preparedness Guide” is immediately available for download online at the website of the Community Advocacy Network (http://www.canfl.com). Representatives of individual community associations as well as local government and other civic organizations may also obtain printed copies of the Hurricane Guide for distribution by contacting kpesicek(at)canfl(dot)com or by phoning 954-315-0372.

KG&B also announced today that Founding Partner Alan Garfinkel, a nationally recognized authority on insurance and natural disaster law, has launched a LinkedIn® “Community Association Damage Claims and Recovery” group (http://linkd.in/jp7r2e). Members of the popular LinkedIn® professional networking site are encouraged to join the “Community Association Damage Claims and Recovery” group for the sharing of information and experiences related to insurance claims and recovery of damages resulting from natural disasters, hurricanes, storm, hail, fire and other catastrophic events that can impact community associations.

Hurricane experts are currently predicting 25% greater activity than average for the 2011 tropical storm season, with as many as 16 named tropical storms and eight hurricanes – with three to five classified as “major” Category 3-5 hurricanes, with winds in excess of 110 miles per hour. In 2005, the most active tropical storm season in recorded history saw a total of 28 named storms, including 15 hurricanes – seven classified as “major,” including hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, which caused extensive property destruction and devastation to livelihoods of millions of Floridians.

“With the recent lawsuit filed against the Monaco Beach Board of Directors for allegedly mishandling a Hurricane Wilma claim as well as the newly created hurdles brought about by SB 408, it is more important than ever that volunteer boards obtain legal advice when both purchasing their coverage as well as filing claims,” said Donna DiMaggio Berger, CAN Executive Director and Managing Partner, Katzman Garfinkel & Berger. “The days of trying to successfully go it alone against insurance giants and a system designed to underpay policy holders are truly over. The Florida Legislature just shortened the time frame to file a claim from 5 years to 3 years making it even more crucial that boards be prepared to act quickly and decisively when disaster strikes.”

“Our Community Association Hurricane Preparedness Guide helps associations make the right decisions before disaster strikes, underscoring the need to line up critical documentation in advance and encouraging compliance with insurance rules and policy regulations so communities can recover the right amounts of money from their insurers in the most timely fashion,” said Alan Garfinkel, Founding Partner, Katzman Garfinkel & Berger. “The newly created “Community Association Damage Claims and Recovery” group on LinkedIn® (http://linkd.in/jp7r2e) is likewise a great information forum for Florida community association Board members and managers wanting to learn more about proper preparation of claims filing and storm damage recovery as we head into the 2011 hurricane season.”

Florida City and County governments and local civic organizations throughout the State are encouraged in advance of the 2011 tropical storm season to email kpesicek(at)canfl(dot)com or phone 954-213-0979 in order to obtain bulk copies the Community Association Hurricane Preparedness Guide for free distribution as a public service to condominium, co-ops, mobile home communities and homeowner associations in their areas.

The KG&B-CAN Community Association Hurricane Preparedness Guide contains useful information to prepare communities in advance of the storm season and alert them to what they should expect in the wake of a storm. Areas covered in detail in the guide include:

  •     Contract Review: explaining why it is important to review the association’s contracts with all service providers before the storm season and what to expect in terms of service delivery in a storm’s aftermath;
  •     Document & Record Security: detailing why and how association documents should be preserved and stored for availability in the immediate aftermath of a hurricane disaster;
  •     Facilities Preparation: including the need to determine if the property is ready to confront the impact of a tropical storm and why documentation of the pre-storm state of the property is crucial to post-storm disaster recovery;
  •     Member Communications: setting out why and how Boards should avail themselves of all possible means of communication with residents, owners and employees -- before, during and after a storm;
  •     Emergency Board Powers: with details on the “special powers” conferred by the State Legislature on condominium Boards to enable them to maneuver their association through the difficult post-disaster period;
  •     Immediate Post-Storm Action: including locating residents and employees, attending to the injured, securing the community and documenting storm damage; and,
  •     Reconstruction & Restoration: dealings with association attorneys, insurance companies and contractors in dealing with disaster recovery and putting a community back together again.

Founded by Katzman Garfinkel & Berger in 2007, the Community Advocacy Network (CAN) is open for membership to all Florida community associations, including condominiums, co-operatives, homeowner associations, timeshares and mobile home communities. For more information about the benefits of CAN membership and the organization's activities around the State, please contact Kristen Pesicek at kpesicek(at)canfl(dot)com or phone 954-213-0979.

Katzman Garfinkel & Berger is a full-service statewide law firm devoted to all aspects of community association representation, including sophisticated transactional law matters, first party insurance claims and construction defect cases. The firm is unique in advancing all fees and costs for its association clients to pursue delinquent assessments, and also handles property damage claims against insurance companies and most construction defect claims against developers on a pure contingency basis.

The KG&B law firm has also been designated as "One of the Most Distinguished Law Firms in America" by Martindale-Hubbell, a peer review rating system spanning more than a century of service evaluating American Law Firms. For more information about Katzman Garfinkel & Berger, please visit: http://www.kgblawfirm.com.

About Katzman Garfinkel & Berger (KG&B):
Katzman Garfinkel & Berger is a statewide Florida law firm devoted to community associations with seven strategically located offices throughout the State of Florida. The firm offers residents living in all types of common interest ownership communities a complete set of services including general corporate representation, lien collection and foreclosure, first party insurance claim recovery and construction defect litigation. It was one of the first firms to advance all fees and costs on behalf of communities that are forced to pursue collection of delinquent assessments. For more information, please visit: http://www.kgblawfirm.com.

About the Community Advocacy Network (CAN)
The Community Advocacy Network (CAN) is the leading statewide advocacy network dedicated to promoting positive community association legislation while advising legislators to resist the urge to micromanage and over-regulate private residential communities. CAN works through its website, email alerts and tools such as the "Capitol Connection" email system to give association leaders and residents the information and resources they need to play a meaningful part in the legislative process before harmful bills are passed. Capitol Connection enables our members to contact their elected officials at every level of government with just the click of a button. For more information, visit http://www.canfl.com or call 954-315-0372.


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Michael Tangeman
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