Claims management giant Sedgwick is no stranger to major events such as the recent flooding in New South Wales and South East Queensland. Here Brian Doughty (pictured), Sedgwick’s head of strategic client partnerships in Australia, outlines what the company’s response entails.
Doughty told Insurance Business: “The health and safety of the community, our colleagues, and service providers drives the timing of our response. And with flooding events, road closures from floodwaters and contamination are very dangerous and must take priority.”
That isn’t to say, however, that claims aren’t moving along.
“While we are waiting for floodwaters to recede,” noted the strategic client partnerships head, “we start the claim process with our loss adjusters and technical claim experts commencing discussions with customers to understand their individual position and plan a tailored response for them.
“With developments in technology, our tools these days allow us to engage differently and improve the outcomes for the customer. For example, in this event we are using our technology that allows us to capture a 3D virtual reality digital twin of the damaged premises.”
According to Doughty, what the technology provides is an accurate recording of the damage sustained, which is then used to prepare the repairs schedule and obtain repair quotations in what he described as a much faster timeframe than they ever have in the past.
Sedgwick expects to receive more than 2,000 claims from the floods, with claims estimates in excess of $100 million. With the event still unfolding, though, Doughty said there will be lessons to come.
He highlighted: “We are in a COVID-19 environment that has changed the ways we look at assessing claims, and, combined with the widespread damage covering over 1,000km in length, including both metropolitan and rural localities, we are always encountering logistical challenges.
“Our catastrophe management team is very experienced in planning and responding to events and is actively involved with the industry through the Insurance Council of Australia working group, and continues to look at industry issues to provide improved claims services.”
Meanwhile, other key considerations include the repair methodology of wet areas, as well as clear mould remediation prior to initiating any repairs.
“As most home policies in Australia provide flood cover, the initial customer engagement and make safes or drying out of premises are our priority in the initial weeks, along with our reinstatement programmes and supplier requirements,” added Doughty.
“The majority of commercial policies do not provide cover for flood, and therefore the identification of the cause is a priority along with documenting the property damage.”