The unpredictable nature of Canada’s climate is not expected to change any time soon. After a year of relentless hurricanes, flooding and wildfires, catastrophe claims management has taken on a new look.
“The claims coming in vary and are from many different locations,” said Patricia Davis, national catastrophe manager at Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc. “We have merit when it comes to flooding in many residential areas when it comes to evacuation orders, and then there’s areas such as Abbotsford where there’s a combination of residential and agricultural land.”
During the flooding that occurred on the west coast at the end of last year, Davis went to assess the damage that was sustained and mentioned that the amount of water that filled up rural highways was like driving through the middle of a lake.
“As difficult as the situation is to deal with, I can’t imagine what it would be like handling the damage that comes afterwards,” she said. “It’s a combination of physical property damage and long tail damage.”
A backroad can be used to transport goods in the event of main road closures but then there’s the issues of business interruption and helping farmers navigate how to deal with agriculture losses due to compromised land.
“Then there’s other avenues to tackle such as businesses who are waiting for specific products to run their operations,” Davis added.
Delays in goods due to unpassable highways, coupled with physical property damage, has made the start to 2022 particularly difficult for many Canadians, and claims professionals must be vigilant in getting homeowners and business owners back on their feet.
“In BC, 2021 was a catastrophic year. The week I spent in Vancouver it rained every day, I was on the forefront of extreme weather,” she explained. “Globally, our catastrophe team spent two months upstate in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania where we saw, firsthand, the flooding that occurred as a result of hurricane Ida.”
Davis noted that Crawford, having a broad range of specialty adjustors across North America, offers a holistic approach to claims management.
“Our catastrophe team is multifaceted,” she continued. “We have senior loss adjusters, global technical adjustors, executive general adjusters, and residential claim adjusters so we can tailor our service to meet clients’ needs when it comes to a specific loss.”
The surge in claims that comes after catastrophic events is made easier with a comprehensive, communicative, and agile team.
“We have adjustors from Canada who have helped in locations such as Australia, Bahamas, and Puerto Rico,” said Davis. “We have the flexibility to move and assist within the company globally.”
Above all, 2022 in claims management is the year of proactivity. Clients need to be prepared to handle a loss before it happens. With the help of technology, they can understand what measures need to be in place and why it will benefit them in the long run.
Davis explained that social media is helping communicate how to prepare for evacuations and what to do after an event strikes.
“We need to be there for our clients, show empathy and be able to interact with them on everyday terms so they can understand what coverage is available based on their location,” Davis added. “At the end of the day I always try to think about how I would want to be treated.”