As summer approaches, community managers have new seasonal risks and exposures to address. In the Southeast, hurricanes pose a recurring threat. Also, as more people head to the coasts for vacations, pool safety should be reviewed to avoid liability. Below we provide insights on experts’ hurricane season predictions as well as liabilities around swimming pools and how to mitigate that risk.
Experts Predict Another Active Hurricane Season in the Atlantic
For 2021, Colorado State University (CSU) hurricane researchers are predicting an above-average Atlantic hurricane season this summer and into the fall (hurricane season typically runs from June 1 to Nov. 30). Specifically, CSU researchers believe there will be 17 named storms in 2021. This is above the average 12.1 named storms per year that occurred from 1981-2010.
Of the predicted 17 named storms for 2021, eight are expected to become hurricanes and four could reach major hurricane strength with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or more. These predictions are based on statistical models that use 40 years of historical hurricane season data and evaluate conditions like Atlantic sea surface temperatures, sea level pressures, vertical wind shear levels and other factors.
The report also highlights the likelihood of hurricanes making landfall, breaking down probabilities by region as follows:
- 69% for the entire coastline of the United States
- 58% for the Caribbean
- 45% for the East Coast of the United States
- 44% for the Gulf Coast
It’s important to note that these are simply predictions. Still, it’s important for individuals to take the proper steps to prepare for severe storms, particularly if they live in or own property in hurricane-prone areas. This can involve securing property, creating an emergency plan and working with qualified insurance experts.
To read more about 2021 hurricane predications, click here.
Swimming Pool Liability for Condos and HOAs
A private swimming pool run by a condo or homeowners’ association (HOA) can be a very attractive amenity to potential homebuyers. However, while they can be popular with owners, pools create a number of liabilities for the association that need to be addressed to avoid safety and legal concerns.
To retain the benefits that a pool brings to your association this summer, your board of directors will need to mitigate the risks of operating a pool by instituting proper safety measures, supplemented by adequate insurance coverage to protect the association from liability.
When evaluating the risk a pool poses, some potential liabilities may be fairly obvious while others may not. Obvious risks are drowning or slip and fall accidents, but don’t overlook items such as water quality, chemical management and lifeguard staffing. Adequately identifying your risks is essential to addressing them.
Your association’s board of directors should consider appointing a pool committee that can take responsibility for reviewing, updating and distributing pool rules. This process should begin with a review of all state and local regulations involving pool operation to ensure compliance. The committee should review the rules annually to make sure they are still addressing liability concerns, plus conduct a thorough inspection of all aspects of the pool facilities.
To avoid key areas of liability the committee should examine the following aspects of the property’s pool:
- The pool area should be completely surrounded by a fence or other structure that includes a gate or door with a locking mechanism meant to prevent unauthorized access when the pool is closed.
- All rescue equipment including flotation devices, life hooks and backboards are readily accessible in case of an emergency; there should also be a first aid kit on hand.
- Chemicals should be kept in a cool, dry, well-ventilated and secure area inaccessible by patrons.
- Chemicals should be monitored on a consistent basis with recordkeeping completed in accordance with any state or local regulation.
- Hours of operation should not be taxing on the resources of the association.
- Pool rules should be posted clearly in the pool area, and annually distributed to all residents.
Are you Covered?
Even if you take all the right precautions, it is important to be prepared in the event of an accident. Check with Valent Group to verify if your association’s current liability coverage addresses your pool risks before the summer gets into full swing. When talking to our team, also ask about any stipulations a policy may have for coverage. If your pool is not up to regulation, some policies may not pay out in the event of a claim, so it’s important to know what is required of you.