Sedgwick’s acquisition of global loss adjusting leader Cunningham Lindsey earlier this year has prepared it well for responding to natural catastrophes, besides providing the company with a larger global footprint. Already, the weather-faring capabilities of the combined operations have been tested, with hurricanes in the US, and tornadoes in Ottawa and Gatineau putting its team to work.
“We are very quick to move, and very quick to respond,” said Michael Holden, president of Sedgwick CMS Canada, when discussing the tornadoes, adding that the company has the ability to call on a deep pool of resources in both the US and Canada in preparation for catastrophe response. “If we have unusually large circumstances in Canada, we can engage even more ammunition and resources.”
South of the border, Sedgwick had a full team ready and waiting for Florence’s onslaught to support the inevitable wave of claims from insureds following the event. The week before the hurricane was expected to hit, forecasts already showed it would be a significant flood event, so Sedgwick put resources in place to prepare, explained Mike Alwyn, chief operating officer for the Canadian operations, though it was far from the first time that Sedgwick has proven its catastrophe response capabilities.
“It’s not unusual for us to call on resources in the United States or internationally if there’s a huge event that takes place. Last year’s catastrophe in the Bahamas [Hurricanes Irma and Maria] was a perfect example. We had responses from across the world to help,” said the COO, adding that because of the company’s global presence, “we can offer those services to our clients where they need it.”
In fact, catastrophe services, as well as specialty services – whether it’s trucking, workers’ comp, or large loss – are two areas where Alwyn sees the Sedgwick clientele’s needs evolving. The integration with Cunningham Lindsey will allow the company to access even more resources and expertise for these and others lines of business.
“We can effectively remove the borders and address very specific needs, such as the marine business – we have very strong marine operations in Canada and in the US, while Cunningham Lindsey has a very strong marine operation globally. Trucking services are no different,” said Holden. “Our clients will benefit from a new combined North American platform.”
Changes going on within the insurance marketplace, namely technology, are also testing the Sedgwick team, though the company is well-positioned to deal with the developments expected to affect the industry.
“There will be more and more automation as time moves on, like in any industry,” said Holden. “With advanced technology, the claims business will evolve and the needs and expectations of our clients will continue to change. This is where we at Sedgwick are positioned well in the marketplace. We have extremely strong IT capabilities with ongoing research and development in this space.”
Discussions around an evolving workforce and workplace culture in the world of insurance haven’t been ignored by Sedgwick either. Holden explained that senior management isn’t put at the top of the leadership triangle, but at the bottom, while adjusters and administrative staff make up that top level of the pyramid.
“We present a unique cultural mindset which sits very well among our colleagues in Canada and exemplifies the Sedgwick movement,” said Holden. “I believe we offer one of the most attractive environments to work in, with a culture that generates high quality and service.”
Over the coming year, Sedgwick will continue to finalize its integration with Cunningham Lindsey. The company gained 44 offices in the acquisition as well as around 400 employees, which will require time to align, in terms of computer systems and physical locations.
“We climbed the mountain, crossed the summit, and are now coming down the other side,” said Holden of the integration. Added Alwyn, “This is a global acquisition, not strictly Canadian, so this is a massive undertaking to put everything together.”