151 Hiawassee St

    Clayton, GA 30525




Describing Hurricane Irma as a “catastrophic event” after viewing its destruction from the air, Gov. Nathan Deal promised last week that the state will pay local governments’ share for cleaning up storm debris along the Georgia coast.

Deal got a firsthand look Sept. 14 at the damage inflicted in Glynn County, where hundreds of homes flooded on St. Simons Island as Irma crossed southwest Georgia Sept. 11 as a weakened tropical storm more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) inland.

Uprooted trees and shattered limbs still littered roads and yards, both on the island and the port city of Brunswick on the mainland. Like other communities in coastal Georgia, Glynn County not long ago finished cleanup efforts after Hurricane Matthew raked the area last October.

“You had two hurricanes in such a short time, I’m sure these local officials will tell you they can use that money very well to do other things,” Deal told reporters during a news conference at the Brunswick airport.

Typically the state and local governments would split roughly 25 percent of the cost for removing storm debris, Deal said, with the federal government paying the rest. He said after Irma, state funds would be used to cover the entire non-federal share in Georgia’s six coastal counties.

Alan Ours, county manager for Glynn County, said debris cleanup countywide cost roughly $10 million total after Matthew last year.

“It is huge,” Ours said of the governor’s decision to spare Glynn County and others a second round of debris-removal costs. “Every dollar for Glynn County is crucial.”

Deal also toured Habersham County in northeast Georgia, where he described extensive tree damage from Irma. The storm toppled trees and limbs across nearly the entire state, leaving at least 1.5 million without electricity after the storm.

By the end of last week, about 204,000 customers of Georgia Power and Georgia Electric Membership Corp. still had no lights.

There were no cost estimates immediately for how much damage Irma inflicted across Georgia. But Jay Florence, deputy commissioner of the Georgia Department of Insurance, said roughly 50,000 claims had been filed statewide as of Sept. 14 as a result of the storm. He said that number would likely increase.

In Glynn County, Ours estimated Irma caused flooding in 500 to 700 homes, many of them on St. Simons island.

Georgia’s insurance commissioner has issued a stern message to the insurance industry in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, saying in a directive to insurance companies on Thursday that they are to exercise leniency in dealing with Georgia residents that may experience difficulty paying their premiums due to Hurricane Irma.

“I expect insurance companies to be compassionate and understanding when so many of their policyholders’ lives have been severely disrupted,” said Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens. “This includes premium payments and nonrenewal notifications.”

Accordingly, Hudgens directed insurers to provide relief to Georgia policyholders, including exercising leniency where premium payments may appear tardy due to the disruption of services as a result of the hurricane.

Likewise, the directive said insurers that have or will process lawful cancellation or nonrenewal notices during the time in which Georgia is in a State of Emergency are encouraged to ensure that policyholders impacted by legal adverse underwriting decisions have sufficient time to address their insurance needs.

Georgians who need help with late payment issues, or who have questions or problems regarding insurance, can call Hudgens’ Consumer Services Division at 1-800-656-2298. Phones are answered from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Thad Bynum, CLU, ChFC, of Bynum Insurance Agency, a Trusted Choice agency in Clayton, GA, was installed as President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia, on June 10 during the association’s 120th annual meeting, convention and trade show at Amelia Island, Fla.

Thad has a long history of service to both the insurance industry as well as his community. He graduated from Piedmont College with a degree in accounting and served 10 years on active duty and reserves in the U.S. Army and Georgia National Guard. In 1989, he began his insurance career working as an agent and then as a manager for Georgia Farm Bureau. In 2002, Thad made the transition to become an independent agent when he and his wife Janelle opened Bynum Insurance Agency.

“I’ve known Thad Bynum for seven years and he is a great asset to our association. He always tells it like it is, is honest and down to earth. He entered the independent agency system when he started his own agency and he has a lot to offer based on his experience, said Betsy Olson, IIAG Chief Executive Officer. "Thad always includes his wife Janelle in our events so the association gets the benefit of two strong voices for the small agencies and the benefits they receive from IIAG,” Olson, continued.

Thad served as IIAG District 2 Director from 2010 to 2015 at which time he was elected to serve on the IIAG Executive Committee. He also holds the Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant designations.

Outside of the industry, Thad has been actively involved in his community and has served on the board of directors for the Rabun County and Northeast Georgia Regional Libraries, Rabun Cross Society, Northeast Georgia Chapter of Red Cross, Rabun County Jaycees, and has served on the deacon board of Battle Branch Baptist Church for over 20 years.

"It is an honor for me to serve as President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia," Thad commented on being elected. "As one who has made the transition from a captive agent to an independent agent, I feel that I am uniquely qualified to get the message out on the value of belonging to this great organization. From start-up agencies like mine to the largest of agencies this association is a valuable resource for all. I look forward to serving you this year."

Thad and Janelle have two sons, Lucas and Andrew, and live in Clayton, GA.

Popular Tags