Hurricanes, Storms, Floods, Wildfires – there seems to be no end to the flow of surge and catastrophe claims.

For insurers the losses can mount up.

But these situations are also the times when insurers very visibly deliver on their core purpose of supporting their customers when they are under great stress.

The problem is that a build up of claims volumes can often overwhelm call centres and back offices, causing lengthy backlogs and poor customer service, just when they need to be at their very best.

Of course, the unpredictability of catastrophic and surge events is always going to create challenges for insurers. But there is a new way to handle such claims that allows insurers to respond extremely rapidly in a way that is tailored to the exact requirements of the situation.

Examples of this include:

  • A Florida insurer deploying a customised online claims reporting capability within a day of Hurricane Irma, allowing victims to file their claims;

  • A travel insurer, faced with a huge surge of calls following the closure of Gatwick airport because of drones, deploying an online tool to advise customers on their cover and process legitimate claims digitally;

  • A California insurer proactively reaching out to policyholders in wildfire affected zip codes with an easy way for those affected to notify them of claims;

  • A global insurer with an automotive client who needed to recall 500,000 vehicles deploying a complete digital process to triage customers and allow them to select a convenient service centre and book an appointment; and

  • A leading UK insurer faced with the need to undertake [thousands] of home visits in the wake of serious storm damage deploying a digital process in conjunction with 360Globalnet’s WithYouIn5 network to complete the visits in under a fortnight.

In each of these cases, the insurer took huge pressure off their call centre and claims staff and avoided the inevitable delays, backlogs and frustrations for customers that would have occurred if they had relied on their traditional approaches. Customers were delighted, and the Florida insurer was even commended by the state regulator for the quality of its response.

The common element in all these examples was 360Globalnet’s 360Siteview platform which allows bespoke fully digital processes to be configured by users in minutes, and can orchestrate communication with all parties to the claim. This means that an insurer can build a customised digital process and deploy it within just a few hours of the event taking place. Questions are relevant, guidance is accurate and appropriate, and because the process is fully digital, it allows for the most efficient possible use of insurer staff.

Recently, following a major fire at a large UK Storage Centre, the provider managing the claims was heavily criticised in the press for sending out a standard form to download, print and fill out where the first question was “What caused your loss?” – which was widely viewed as highly insensitive. Customers expect more these days, and it is no longer sufficient for insurers to respond to large scale events with standard processes.

Major insurers should ensure they have the tools and the ability to configure and deploy custom processes tailored to the exact circumstances of major events. That way they can be highly responsive and ensure they do the best possible job for their customers at a time when they really need it.