This year marks the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Although this is not a joyous celebration, it is a time for reflection. Many have been, and continue to be, affected by the devastation Katrina caused in New Orleans in 2005. However, we’d like to use this blog to focus on the positive — what we have learned to help prepare our customers for catastrophic events.
When it comes to major events, like Katrina, one of the first things our customers are concerned about in the aftermath is getting their claims handled as quickly and efficiently as possible. A good relationship between the customer and the insurer helps make this a successful experience.
1. Improved pre-crisis planning
Since Katrina, we’ve focused on improving our pre-crisis planning. By using weather-tracking technology, we can anticipate where a storm might hit. This allows us to get the right people in place to help things go as smooth as possible, rather than waiting until disaster has already struck.
2. Availability of communication
Katrina reinforced that our customers look to us to provide them with guidance and, most importantly, to be available when needed. Regular communication before, during and after the storm lets our customers know we are there to help. By tuning in to Zurich’s social media channels, brokers and customers receive information on staying safe during the storm.
3. Handling claims disputes
Customers typically have concerns about getting claims handled as quickly as possible. Zurich has created a smooth process for claims. However, from Katrina we learned that no matter how well a process is maintained, in times of crisis discrepancies are bound to arise. This caused Zurich to create a unique “alternative dispute resolution” program to deal with unclear post-Katrina claims. We were one of the first companies to do this on an independent private basis, which was extremely valuable to our customers. Since Katrina, we continue to use this same program for similar events.
4. Preparing an emergency response plan
After seeing the destruction from Katrina, Zurich realized the importance of helping our customers prepare an emergency response plan. This means looking at the worst-case scenario and figuring out what the customer can do to prevent damage before a storm, and what they will need to do after the event.
We can never be fully prepared for a catastrophic event like Katrina. However, being there for our customers is our main focus. They need to know that we are there to help them before, during and after a crisis.