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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The Diligent CAT Adjuster - Being Prepared for Deployment

Mike Koch (Kitchener, ON)

When catastrophic events occur there is an immediate need for response. Both natural and man-made catastrophic events often cause devastating and long-ranging effects to the individuals, communities and natural environments impacted. Claims adjusters play a critical role during such events as they serve as the eye and ears of policyholders that have vacated the affected area and the carriers that underwrite these policies. After an event has occurred, and the impacted area is deemed secure enough for emergency/first response personnel and associated professionals to enter, claims adjusters are placed onsite to conduct their investigation on the impact and severity of damages sustained on insured properties, and to manage and expedite the claims process. The services of these individuals come into play during the thick of it, entering environments that have been crippled by the very destructive force that swept through it. Preparation is key for claims adjusters ensuring that they have the resources, supplies and equipment to effectively navigate through the impacted environment and execute their functions accordingly. To that effect, adjusters need to be aware of the following things and prepare as needed.

Items that should accompany any claims professional being deployed to a CAT site consist of:
  • The limited available power sources within the effect area will hinder one’s ability to use debit or credit cards to make purchases or to withdraw money from an ATM. It is recommended that adjusters bring with them a fair sum of money either in U.S. or local currency to purchase essentials such as meals, gas, water, etc.
  • The potential lack of power will have an impact on the operability of local infrastructure and certain accommodations that we have grown accustomed to such as running water, heating, cooling and refrigeration.  It is wise for adjusters to bring a small cooler to house water and refreshments. Also, in the absence of lighting a handheld flashlight should be packed.  
  • Small first-aid kits can be useful in treating minor scrapes that an adjuster may sustain.
  • A small cache of business supplies consisting of a stapler, paper clips, pencil, paper, ruler, measuring tape, etc. should be packed to assist adjusters with the documentation of their activities.
  • The attire that an adjuster packs should be versatile enough to accommodate the climate that they are about to enter and be suitable for walking through rummage while conducting an onsite investigation, and to meet with superiors, clients and other business professionals. Safety and practicability come first making safety shoes and a hard hat are a must. Other essential items that an adjuster should pack include a lap top along with a spare battery and car charger, a camera and an updated passport.
  • Adjusters should always be mindful and respectful of local customs and traditions and act accordingly
  • As language may be a barrier, adjusters should come prepared with language conversation books or translation resources that they can call on for assistance.
  • As navigation may sometimes be a challenge, coming prepared with maps of the local area and a GPS device can prove to be most useful.

This blog post has been written by Mike Koch, National Property & Catastrophe Manager, Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc.

Pat Van Bakel, President & CEO, Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc. is on CatIQ's Canadian Catastrophe Conference's 2016 Advisory Committee and will be a panelist on the Claims Executives panel during the conference.

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