The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center has issued its forecast for the 2009 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 until Nov. 30. The prediction is for a 50% chance of a “near normal” season of moderate storm activity in the Atlantic. NWS forecasters look for between 9 and 14 named storms, of which between 4 and 7 storms may become hurricanes. There is an expectation that one of the hurricanes could be a Category 3 or greater, meaning a storm with minimum 111 m.p.h. sustained winds.
Hurricane seasons have been marked by surprises in recent years, and travel agents should always recommend that their clients add travel insurance in preparation for the unexpected. Last year was the first year ever for two hurricane statistics. There were six consecutive named storms, including four hurricanes, that struck the mainland U.S. during the season. There was also a category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic during each of five consecutive months, including Bertha in July, Gustav in August, Ike in September, Omar in October and Paloma in November. Agents should also remind their clients that in 2005, after 15 named storms and 9 hurricanes were predicted for the season, there were subsequently 28 named storms and 15 hurricanes, including the majors Katrina, which struck New Orleans, and Wilma, which struck Cancun.
Travel Insured’s Worldwide Trip Protector line of plans include Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Trip Delay, Missed Port of Call and Missed Connection, which can be triggered by a hurricane or other disruptive weather activity. Not all plans include all coverage and clients should consult the terms and conditions of each plan for the specific coverage and plan costs that work for them. Clients concerned about traveling when a storm is potentially heading toward their destination might consider a Cancel for Any Reason upgrade as their best option. By buying the Cancel for Any Reason upgrade within 14 days of their initial trip deposit, clients may cancel up to two or more days prior to their scheduled departure date for up to a 75% reimbursement of their non-refundable prepaid vacation costs. Remember that the Cancel for Any Reason option must be purchased before the storm is named for coverage to apply!