Chat Transcript: Joe Carr

EquiSearch – Welcome to’s chat with Joe Carr of American Bankers Insurance. Joe is ready to answer your questions about preparing for such disasters as fire, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes. Please feel free to ask questions and comment on the discussion. Thanks

?Kate Light. All Rights Reserved.

JoeCarr – Good evening.

EquiSearch To get us started, here’s a question posted at our forum for you, Joe:

EquiSearchI recently looked at a show jumper valued at $50,000. During the pre-purchase exam, the vet noticed a murmur at rest, but not during exercise. Most insurance companies said they wouldn’t even insure this or would exclude heart problems. One said they would insure him with a regular premium. Does this seem unlikely to you? I’m worried if the horse died they would deny the claim. Thanks, Nancy

EquiSearchAlso as an addition to that question: How could one company offer to insure him, but the others refuse?–Also from Nancy

JoeCarr – Nancy, thank you for question, however, the focus of tonight’s chat is disaster recovery — we’d like to keep this focus.

PicoloWhat does disaster recovery mean exactly?

JoeCarr – Insurance in all its facets is far too broad to tackle in just one hour!

JoeCarr – Basically, disaster recovery is a process by which we try to effectively make horse people conscious-competent of an occurrence of a disaster that could occur in your particular locale. That includes lightning, windstorms, tornado, hurricane, etc. We are trying to make the horsemen aware of these natural disasters BEFORE rather than after the damage is done.

PicoloWe had a tornado go by just yesterday. I’ve heard conflicting reports of what to do with horses in a tornado … turn out or secure in barn. What is the recommendation of the industry?

PicoloI think turnout on the open range would be one thing, but turn out in a small field might be another

JoeCarr – The recommendation of the industry is common sense. Go back to nature and allow horses to survive as they have for hundreds of years … survival of the fittest. I would turn them out. I would identify my horses (address, telephone #) with spray paint or livestock markers. Not everyone is a horse person, so identifying a horse on the halter or splint boot may not look for that to identify the horse. That was the main problem in Hurricane Hugo and Andrew.

EquiSearchJoe, here’s a question hot off the press with all our current wild fires. Some families living in dry areas are having trouble keeping their insurance–some companies think the risk is too great. What can horse property owners in fire areas do to make sure their insurance isn’t cancelled?

JoeCarr – For those who live in dry areas susceptible to wildfires: They need to discuss their protection from the brush fires with their insurance agent.

EquiSearchWhat else is specific to know for wildfire prep?

JoeCarr – Invest in fire breaks, fire walls, and research all of the necessary precautions on brushfire prevention. Call your local fire department and ask their assistance.

CarolineIf you lose your horse (he gets out or is turned loose) during a disaster, what are the best ways to find him? Are there databases that exist in addition to talking to the local police, etc.?

equ123 Living near a interstate it would not seem the right thing to do (turn out) in the event of a fire.

EquiSearch Equi123, I think Joe was answering the question about tornados. You’re right in the case of a fire!

JoeCarr – Preparation is the key. Your local fire dept is one of your best assets in protection and prevention in your insurance policy.

PicoloOur riding club is developing a disaster plan. Is there a book or a kit available for groups to get organized?

equ123 I just have my trailer ready to go and I would have to ride one and lead on while my husband hauled two out. We are on the edge of forest land and feel somewhat safe, but we are always ready.

EquiSearchJoe, Caroline had a great question about finding your horse after a disaster. What are the best ways to find a lost horse–besides the police and local authorities.

JoeCarr – Caroline, first of all, try to identify your horse. There will most likely be a public announcement (radio) where many of these animals will be kept. Often they are kept at a fair grounds or rescue compound.

EquiSearch Sounds like a plan, Equi123!

JoeCarr – FEMA, federal emergency management agency, have very specific guidelines. They may have insight on how to locate your animal. Their website is

JoeCarr – Caroline, where specifically did your disaster occur?

EquiSearchIn the event of an emergency, what papers should horse owners have ready to go?

JoeCarr – EquiSearch, an owner should have their Coggins, vaccination records, and registration papers.

EquiSearchThanks, Joe. Another forum member wanted to know what you most often see horse owners overlook–what’s the biggest regret after a disaster? How can we avoid the same mistake? From Abby in Ohio.

JoeCarr – Abby, not having enough clean water, hay, not identifying the horses, and not preparing properly before the disaster. Every horse should have at least 10-20 lbs. of hay, and at least 55 gallons of water, and protected feed from environment.

JoeCarr – Not having enough rope to make a temporary paddock is another problem. Not having enough flashlights or list of important numbers (veterinarian, local authorities, etc.). These are all things to consider.

EquiSearchThat’s a good list, Joe, thanks!

EquiSearch How do you store that much extra water?

JoeCarr – To store extra water, you get garbage cans and put the covers on top sealed with duct tape/bungie cord. You can get approximately 55 gallons in a large trash container.

EquiSearch How long will water stay fresh like that?

JoeCarr – You should prepare to have about three days of water and food supplies. Water will stay fresh in that manner for days.

MikeHi Joe, What do you know about the new fire-proofing sprays and treatments for barns. Do any insurance companies offer discounts for that? Or are there any other fireproofing tips that would lower insurance premiums?

Mike Last year, a firefighter was arrested in my county for starting about 7 barn fires. It was awful. You knew someone was preying on you, and could be ready to get your barn. I’d do anything to keep fire from spreading if it was set.

JoeCarr – Mike, basically there is a fire-credit protection. It’s not specific to the fire retardants that are on the market right now. You can get the credit without the fire-retardant. With adequate sprinklers and extinguishers, that credit can be utilized.

MikeWhat about heaters causing barn fires. Is there something to look for that makes a heater safer?

EquiSearchThanks, Joe.

JoeCarr – Mike, don’t use heaters.

JoeCarr – Horses stay warm without heaters. They are not a necessary part of a horse operation. Heaters need to be carefully watched. You have dust, wood particles, and straw — all very combustible.

MikeThanks, Joe. What about having a metal vs. wooden barn. How much of a credit can you get for that?

JoeCarr – Mike, it all depends on the manufacture of the metal and wood barn.

MikeAre you in favor of that pressure treated wood? Does that have anything to do with fireproof?

JoeCarr – Mike, pressure-treated wood will last a lot longer. For longevity, pressure-treated is far better.

CarolineSorry I’m a bit slow in answering your question re where my disaster occurred–it wasn’t mine. A friend of mine lost a horse following a flood in Texas a while back.

ChaCha Of the disasters you’re talking about–When are horses most at risk?

JoeCarr – Cha Cha, the horses are most at risk during an act of disaster. After the disaster, however, there are still issues such as access to clean water, confinement, physical harm.

ChaChaJoe, I have 2 horses. We just got. Do you think it’s essential to switch to an insurance agent that specializes in equestrian property? We only have 5 acres, so we’ve just been kind of suburban — more rural in the past. No ag.

JoeCarr – ChaCha, it is very important to have someone that understands your needs. You don’t go to the foot doctor when your tooth aches.

JoeCarr – Definitely switch!

JoeCarr – ChaCha, where are you from? I love your screenname!

MikeWhat’s the best way to find an equine-insurance agent. Do they list you that way in a directory?

JoeCarr – Mike, first and foremost, the best way to go about it is ask your county equine 4-H extension service or anyone in your area that is very active in the horse industry.

JoeCarr – Check out the Equisearch website. It is an excellent source of information.

MikeIs there a certain training you go through to add equine specialty? Or–disaster specialty?

JoeCarr – Mike, yes. I have a course that is approved for continuing education for insurance agents. I also have done this program for pony club and 4-H. I run this course for several of the larger thoroughbred farms in Kentucky.

MikeWow, I never knew. I don’t think a lot of horse owners think about it. It’s one of those–go with who your dad used things.

ChaChaJoe, I’m glad you like the name! I live in the outskirts of Pensacola Florida.

JoeCarr – It’s nearing the end of the hour. I have time for final questions.

ChaChaWhat about fencing in disasters? If you leave your horse outside, is there a type of fence that’s less likely to hurt them–or fly around? Are there deductions on fencing type at all?

JoeCarr – ChaCha, good questions. Nothing, however, will stand up to 100 mph winds!

ChaChaI’ll bet big boards flying around aren’t that great, then, though. Maybe we’ll go with tape!

JoeCarr – First, remember to identify with spray paint or livestock marker. Some type of portable fencing on hand would be a good idea. Or at least some rope that will accommodate a makeshift paddock using trees or posts. The rails will not hold in high winds. You have to do what you can and hope for the best.

MikeYeah, good tips.

ChaChaThanks for all your help!

JoeCarr – The FEMA website is an excellent website for disaster recovery for all animals. They have very helpful information.

EquiSearch Thanks so much for all your advice tonight, Joe! To all our guests, thanks for visiting the chat. Please stop by and check out the transcripts in a few days. Joe, any contact info you’d like to share/ promote?

JoeCarr – Thank you for your questions and for joining me tonight.

JoeCarr – Thank you EquiSearch for having me. Good night.

EquiSearchGood night!