C4 2018 Logo

Monday, 18 January 2016

Back to Normal - After a Catastrophe

Steve Johnston (Toronto, ON)

I have been told the Insurance Industry is under siege.  I have been told there are “disruptors” that are attempting to force a seismic shift to the industry.

Whether any of us choose to believe the futurists or not is irrelevant. 

History should be able to guide all of us.  Unfortunately our perceptions of history are very different.  Each of us holds a different lens up to the past.

I submit to you, dear reader, there is no “right” answer for any industry, there is only what the consumer needs and wants and everyone else must fall in line.  What the consumer needs and wants after a natural catastrophe is no exception.

In 2005 my wife and I enjoyed 4 glorious days in Mexico on our honeymoon until Hurricane Wilma ruined the party.  I remember 2 things vividly about that event: First, spending 24 hours in the bathroom of our hotel room because it was the safest place to be.  There were no windows that could be blown out in that room, only a drop ceiling that happened to drop on us after it became saturated, breaking apart.

My second vivid memory is sitting on the bus after we were told to evacuate.  There was no air conditioning, everybody was tired, and everything was wet.  All we wanted at that moment was to be home, back in Canada, with all of this gone.  Like Humpty Dumpty, we wanted to be put back together again as quickly as possible.  We wanted for this catastrophe to be over NOW!

Our vacation provider made that happen as efficiently and effectively as they could.  Today, as my wife and I plan a spring break vacation for our family, I know what vacation provider I hope to be travelling with.

If this catastrophe had happened in my hometown, if our home had been flooded, if our glass windows were shattered,  if our roof had blown off I would find myself praying for somebody to please put me back to normal again!  And if my prayers were to be answered perhaps I would find myself in the presence of a co-ordinated effort to rebuild my home and my community and our local economy as quickly and effectively as possible.

  •   Enter the Insurance industry
  •   Enter the Municipal, Provincial and Federal Governments      
  •   Enter Academia
  •   Enter Socially Responsible businesses
  •   Enter the Red Cross
  •   Enter Volunteers from across the country
  •   Enter charitable organizations and organized fundraisers
  •   Enter my friends, family and neighbours
  •  Enter a diverse team of individuals working together, to bring back normal as soon as  possible.   A common purpose uniting many.

No organization or industry is under siege here, we must all commit to working together to create an effective framework to manage recovery from these catastrophes.  This is our challenge.

Those who can co-ordinate most effectively, those who can get me back to normal, will be the ones who deserve my loyalty.  

This blog post has been written by Steve Johnston, Director of Corporate Reinsurance at the Co-operators General Insurance company. He is a member of CatIQ's Canadian Catastrophe Conference's 2016 Advisory Committee and the moderator of "Who Pays the Bill" which will take place on Feb. 2nd during the C4 Conference. Steve will also be moderating the Student Delegate Presentations session.

Co-operators Twitter: @The_Cooperators

No comments:

Post a Comment