A helping hand on the way home – expert Q&A

A helping hand on the way home – expert Q&A | Insurance Business Canada

A helping hand on the way home – expert Q&A
As access to Fort McMurray could be granted to some displaced residents as early as this week, carriers and brokers must prepare for a second wave of on-the-ground service. Paul MacDonald, senior vice president and chief claims officer at RSA Canada, explains to Insurance Business Canada the challenges facing carriers and brokers as policyholders’ needs evolve.
Q:  What should adjusters and brokers prepare for as access to the area is granted?

Insurers are taking the time right now to prepare the necessary infrastructure – for instance, mobile offices (brick and mortar or another format) – to manage the situation once re-entry is underway. Once residents return home, one of the first things they will do is reach out to their insurance provider to get clarity around the claims process ahead. A broker’s main role in this period is going to be to support the customer, but to redirect them to the adjuster to address specific claims-related questions. We have been in communication with the insureds over the past few weeks to let them know who their assigned adjuster is, for fielding questions of this nature.
Q: What will be some of the main insurance challenges as Fort Mac enters the recovery stage?

PM: There are going to be three main challenges around re-entry/recovery:

Resources – Local, provincial and national – to help with the repair, restoration and rebuilding that is imminent in the immediate future for the region. Most insurers are currently solidifying resources in order to get this process underway as soon as possible to manage customer expectations

Patience – There is going to be a lot of frustration around the damage and losses from returning residents. And once the process is underway, there will be continuing frustrations around the pace of the rebuild. Many of these frustrations will be expressed on social media channels. As insurers, we have to be focused in our commitment to getting customers back on track as soon as possible given the circumstances, and be patient when addressing their sentiments in the weeks and months ahead.

Policy conditions – While we are going to be focused on getting residents back on track as soon as physically possible in Fort Mac, we also have to be mindful of doing so within the confines of their policies. There will be some aspects of the recovery that will fall outside policy limits, and communicating this to customers who have experienced such major losses is going to be a challenge for the industry.
Q: Those with damaged property may be seeking out restoration services, which can have insurance implications. What should residents be aware of, and what kind of communication should come from carriers and brokers about this?

We have working relationships with several qualified professionals who can help with restoration services for those impacted. We have done the necessary due diligence on these professionals, and as such can recommend them to the customers – directly or through brokers. That said, the customer is the only one who can make the ultimate choice of who they work with. We only make recommendations to help ease the hiring process for the restoration services that customers might need.`

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