BEYOND THE STORM — Insurance agent: Head start on Harvey claims

Published 4:48 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2018

As an insurance man, Stuart Salter of Julian Salter Insurance in Port Arthur, said being out of town when Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey hit was actually a bit of luck.

“I was taking the final for a certification in San Francisco. I couldn’t fly out of Houston but I could fly out of Dallas. At first, I thought the storm was a problem for Houston,” he said. “When I was in school my phone lit up. I was told the storm was headed our way.”

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Salter had four hours to complete the exam, so he hurried through the exam so he could tend to business. He had a backup cell phone tree and he used the hotel lobby as his home base.

He and his wife, Patti, took in claims for Mid and South County — 700 in all.

“It was fortuitous. We had good technology and good communications. Our customers could see an adjuster early because of this,” Salter said.

They stayed a couple of days with their daughter in Dallas before returning home. Even there, Salter had his laptop and his phone he dubbed “My office.”

“Everything is on the cloud,” he said.

When they got home, his house was still flooded, so he stayed and worked from his aunt’s house in Port Neches. He said just about all of the claims were turned in on time at the office.

“During a catastrophe insurance companies treat customers differently. The claims really don’t count against you. The Texas Department of Insurance will not renew a risk or charge more,” he said.

This is Salter’s third flood experience.

He and Patti bought their “dream house” on Pleasure Island 13 years ago. Hurricane Rita took off the roof and flooded the house. They rebuilt two years later and were hit by Hurricane Ike two years later.

“It was really hard on us,” he said. “My wife lost pictures that first time, and that really hurt. We rebuilt again, but it really preyed on our minds.

“Three years ago we moved to town (near the Babe Zaharias Golf Course) on Golf Hill. It’s been a wonderful home. We knew it was in a flood zone, but it had no history of flooding. The rest, however, is history.”

Salter said the people of this area really have the know-how to recover from a flood.

“We don’t keep stuff on the floor anymore. We don’t want to test this for a fourth time,” Salter said.

This story appeared in Volume 2 of The Port Arthur News Profile, April 15, 2018