The biggest challenge facing the insurance industry today is managing catastrophic events. With ever-increasing occurrences of extreme weather events in highly populated areas, servicing claims effectively has become a growing priority. Global insured catastrophe losses have reached an all-time high of $135 billion annually and insurers are facing mounting pressure to adopt measures to more effectively respond to disasters.
BATTLING THE STORM
When disasters strike, insurance companies have become proficient at aligning their resources, setting up mobile units, and servicing the immediate needs of customers. Likewise, restoration contractors have become highly effective at quickly mobilizing emergency mitigation teams, procuring necessary equipment, and getting the initial emergency work started to disaster-affected areas. The challenge is how to most effectively coordinate the efforts of these two highly efficient groups.
Here are four challenges insurance companies face when it comes to managing catastrophic events and how they can be addressed by using Encircle.
1. Scaling Resources in Response to a CAT
When dispatching resources to a CAT, a standard number of crew and equipment is typically sent in response (e.g. 3 technicians, 5 fans, and 1 large dehumidifier). Once the field team is on-site and an assessment is made, they will arrange for more resources or equipment if required. While this has made sense in the past, it is not the most efficient process.
The issue is that the initial pre-set response may not match the needs of the site; the response may be inadequate in terms of manpower and equipment, or unnecessarily excessive. In contrast, using Encircle, insurance companies and restoration contractors can gain remote visibility into a loss. Using Encircle Link, policyholders are sent a text message or email to their mobile device (cell phone or tablet) when they report a loss to an insurer, enabling them to take photos and videos of a loss and share them in real-time.
The insurer can immediately advise customers on the phone as they report a loss, as well as share the Encircle file with a contractor, allowing them to assess the scope of the loss prior to dispatching a crew. Not only will enough resources be assigned, but expertise can also be scaled up or down according to the complexity of the loss. With the ability to scale resources by need, more sites can be addressed, as well as prioritized, resulting in fewer delays servicing customers with significant losses.
2. Impaired Line of Sight to Losses
While the physical work is being done, typically the Adjuster has no idea what progress is being made until the Project Manager finds time to upload their report.
Using Encircle, the restoration field team, office team, and the insurer can all see the status of a claim in real-time. The Adjuster has a complete line of sight on a claim once a Project Manager accepts the assignment. As soon as the emergency mitigation crew is on site, all photos and authorizations can be seen by the Adjuster immediately.
3. Delayed Reporting
The Project Manager is challenged with trying to see as many losses as possible in a day and arranging the start of mitigation work as quickly as possible. At the end of a full day on the road, their time at the desk typically begins, as they work to complete and upload the initial report. As a result, during a catastrophe, Project Managers must endure extremely long days and the potential to see more claims is limited.
In contrast, Encircle automatically starts building the report once the assignment is received. As soon as a loss is documented digitally in the field, it can be compiled in a report. Encircle facilitates field documentation digitally using a mobile device, allowing most of the report to be quickly completed by the time the Project Manager leaves the site. Final edits can be made by administrative staff who have real-time access to the file. As reports are uploaded throughout the day, the insurer sees the severity of losses and does not have to wait until the next business day for updates from the field.
4. Controlling Costs
A big challenge during extreme weather events is avoiding cost leakage. While there are legitimate additional costs to be incurred during catastrophes, there is also unnecessary leakage due to improper scoping, failing to follow protocol, and even fraud.
Encircle offers a scoping tool that allows restorers to build accurate scope estimates. Using the Encircle scoping tool can help ensure CAT protocols are being followed, while revisions and additional costs can be avoided. By offering a tool to create more consistent estimates, the quality of the estimate no longer depends on the expertise of the estimator. Similarly, a more consistent estimate format helps make audit and estimate reviews easier to perform.
A Collaborative Catastrophe Protocol
When insurance companies and contractors collaborate using Encircle, a more harmonized response to a catastrophe can be achieved. Claims can be managed through a single platform, with information provided to all parties at the same time. This creates efficiency and a better experience for the customer.
About Mike Kelly
Director, Business Development at Encircle
With over 25 years in the insurance and restoration industries, Mike works to optimize how Encircle drives collaboration between insurance companies and restoration contractors. He is committed to creating highly efficient processes that allow companies to deliver superior customer service in the most cost-effective way.
Mike has been involved in the management of claims teams and quality assurance, as well as the development of several insurers’ contractor management programs. He has also worked with numerous contractors to develop continuous improvement and quality assurance programs to help meet the growing needs of the industry.