The sky is falling, or so it would have seemed in 2011, a year marred by record-setting devastation that scarred both the earth and the human spirit. During those tempest-tossed days, Mother Nature angrily lashed out with howling storms, raging waves that engulfed cities and villages, and pernicious fires that devoured timber and swaths of homes. When the smoke had cleared, millions were left with the sound, the fury, and the pain. But that was just the beginning for the claims industry, which swiftly rose to restore order from the chaos of numerous billion-dollar calamities.
To say nothing of the thousands of lives lost, here are some statistics that emerged from last year’s meteorological chaos to put it all in perspective:
“When compared to the historical average, this year’s Atlantic hurricane season forecast offered an ominous outlook for 2011, and it certainly delivered,” noted Peter Dailey, Ph.D., director of atmospheric science at AIR Worldwide.
Aside from the catastrophes on our home shores, Crawford has also been working in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and in Thailand. In claims handling, we have learned that, in some respects, it doesn’t matter if it is a momentous season or [merely] an average one. Weather events happen every year and require an organization to be prepared around the year regardless.
Bramlet: So you are saying that catastrophe planning really is a year-round endeavor?
BOWMAN: Absolutely. Part of that preparation involves managing various moving parts and precisely executing technology and utilizing skilled claims personnel.
Bramlet: What else can domestic enterprises learn from Crawford’s successes about keeping operations, and by extension, claims running along smoothly?
BOWMAN: As a company, we have 8,900 employees on a global basis. To respond to catastrophes on U.S. soil, we have a division with about 1,800 claims adjusters on standby. We can ensure that we have the most desirable candidates, who are licensed in areas where they need to be deployed. They must also be trained in our technology.
Because our technology system is fairly sophisticated, we conduct training courses throughout the year and event-specific induction courses pri or to deploying the adjusters to the damaged area. The adjuster must be well-versed in the type of business appropriate for each client, which, again, shows the importance of planning ahead.