Every year, people along the Atlantic coast brace themselves for hurricane season, running June through November. That’s because the enormous geographic footprint of the impact and devastation left in the wake of these storms can extend for months and even years to come. Such was the case in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as well as Hurricane Matthew that made coastal landfall in early October.
Hurricane Matthew was one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in recent history, wreaking havoc on thousands of communities, families, homes and businesses. Matthew’s Category 5 winds peaked at 160 mph sending the death toll in the Caribbean into the triple digits, with 49 deaths reported in the US.
Insurance industry response
Although hurricane season is officially over, insurers remain in recovery mode, with companies and their catastrophe teams focused on getting communities and customers back on their feet. The South Carolina Department of Insurance (@scdoi) hosted Hurricane Matthew outreach events to assist consumers with their insurance and claims handling needs. Catastrophe claims center events were held in Bluffton and Florence with representatives from the insurance industry, National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), among others. Participants included OII member companies Allstate, Auto-Owners, GEICO, Nationwide, State Farm, State Auto, Travelers and USAA.
For many insurers, helping out in affected areas extends well beyond the claims handling process. Some of our members annually support the disaster relief programs of the American Red Cross. These programs service communities pre- and post- disaster, and aid families during the recovery process. OII members and their foundations that support the Red Cross include: Nationwide, State Farm, Farmers and USAA.
And, there’s plenty more. In response to Hurricane Matthew and related relief efforts, many OII members are supporting impacted communities in a variety of ways. Read below to learn how OII members are lending a hand and their expertise to help families and communities in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
Allstate: Drones after a disaster
After Matthew hit the US mainland, insurers were left to assess damages, including the hard-hit states of Georgia and South Carolina. Allstate (@Allstate) initiated claims assessments with a modern twist. It deployed drones, as shown in the video above, to inspect damaged rooftops and homes, helping customers address their claims needs more efficiently.
Read Allstate’s post on how drones are becoming a game changer for damage and disaster response.
Central Insurance Companies: Create a plan
Natural disasters don’t always provide the luxury to plan ahead. To best prepare your family for a natural disaster, Central Insurance Companies (@Central_Ins) shares tips for weathering a storm, along with a list of staples to include in a recovery kit such as water, flashlights, first aid kit, prescriptions, tools, pet supplies and more. See Central’s infographic on disaster prep, along with its resource page for even more.
State Auto: Recovery is top priority
State Auto (@StateAuto) offers disaster recovery and peace of mind to its customers through its Claims and Risk Engineering (CARE) team. The CARE team has made recovery support and response times a top priority to ensure policyholders affected by Hurricane Matthew receive immediate attention.
In addition, State Auto published tips to avoid insurance and repair scams. See State Auto’s tips, including why consumers should only trust their repair and recovery needs to licensed, bonded professionals.
Nationwide: A donation to relief efforts
In October, Nationwide (@Nationwide) announced a $100,000 donation to the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program to aid in Hurricane Matthew relief efforts. Nationwide deployed also Catastrophe Response teams to locations hit hardest. Read more about Nationwide’s disaster relief efforts here.
Cincinnati Insurance Companies: Prep for natural disasters
While Ohio is not directly affected by coastal hurricanes, we have our share of heavy rains, high winds and power outages. Cincinnati Insurance Companies curates its top tips for storm preparedness for Ohioans. This article includes such topics as how to prep for a power outage and ways to safeguard your business from storm damage.
USAA: Navigating the claims process
Natural disasters like a hurricane, tornado or flood often destroy or damage the exterior of homes, businesses and personal property. In many cases, policyholders resort to filing an insurance claim with limited or no prior experience of the process. USAA (@USAA) shares a Q & A for its customers seeking assistance in understanding the disaster recovery process.
Also see USAA’s video on the claims process, with advice from their experts.
Grange: Extra support for customers
In Hurricane Matthew’s aftermath, the South Carolina Department of Insurance issued an emergency order for insurance carriers providing policyholders in heavily impacted areas an extra 60 days to pay insurance premiums. In response, Grange Insurance (@GrangeInsurance) implemented a freeze on policy cancellations for their customers due to nonpayment. See Grange’s release that details its policy cancellation moratorium.
For more on how our members and the industry are responding to Hurricane Matthew, see the following resources. Their focus on being prepared serves as a reminder that the insurance industry is there before, during and long after disasters strike.
- Erie Insurance (@Erie_Insurance): Erie Insurance Responds to Hurricane Matthew Claims
- Progressive (@Progressive): Important Information About Your Vehicle Insurance Policy
- GEICO (@GEICO): GEICO Catastrophe Team Readied as Hurricane Matthew Expected to Impact Florida, Georgia and Carolinas
- State Farm (@StateFarm): Hurricane Matthew Response
- Westfield Insurance (@WestfieldIns): Our Promise of Protection
- Insurance Information Institute (@iiiorg) Hurricane Matthew: Six Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim
- Property Casualty 360 (@PC_360): How the Insurance Industry Prepares for Hurricanes
- The News & Observer (@newsobserver): Insurers Beef Up Hurricane Matthew Claims Effort in NC
Posted: December 2, 2016