Help your insureds successfully navigate Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Jose …

Irma, the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, is leaving a path of destruction across the Caribbean as it heads toward southern Florida. At least 13 people are dead, while many more are homeless.

A direct strike on Miami at Category 4 strength could lead to insured losses of $125 billion to $130 billion, Jay Gelb, an analyst at Barclays, wrote in a note Tuesday. Less than two weeks prior, Hurricane Harvey caused devastating, unprecedented flooding and economic losses. It dropped up to 50 inches of rain in some areas surrounding Houston, shattering storm records. At least 60 people are dead, as many as 30,000 people may be displaced, and estimated losses are already topping $100 billion.

Sadly, these people had to leave behind homes and property, hoping they can return and rebuild soon. Until then, they need to talk about what happened.

“It’s very healing for people,” said Kathryn Tar, dean of the University of Houston’s College of Nursing, while discussing with Reuters how sharing storm experiences and damaged homes helps people cope with loss. “It helps us move on to the really difficult stage – rebuilding.”

It’s a tragedy, and our thoughts go out to everyone affected. Unfortunately, in some areas, it’s going to be a long process just to turn power on, as waters need to recede first.

Making things worse, another hurricane, Jose, is following right behind Irma. And Katia is forecast to hit Mexico on Friday night.

Keeping our priorities straight

Of course, getting people to safety in advance and saving lives are always the main priorities. But insurance is a big part of the equation afterward, as people need resources to help get their lives back together. Perhaps it’s priority No. 3.

Imagine if it was you and you found yourself with six feet of water in your living room, watching as your favorite chair became trash within minutes. The dining room where you tried to coax your teen to tell you how school was every day – washed away. Imagine trying to get your life started again. And how important such a simple thing as a claims check can kick-start that process.

This is how the insurer can become an important responder to families in need, whether it’s a hurricane, a fire, or even a broken down car. The car that gets you to work, or gets your teen to baseball practice. Suddenly speed becomes so important.

Speeding claims processing

This is where insurance software solutions help. They give you the ability to work with insureds to move claims forward quickly.

For example, by using enterprise content management, documents – and all the necessary accompanying information – are immediately available electronically to those who need them. This empowers your employees to answer inquiries faster, improving the speed of payout.

Going further, by utilizing workflow management, agencies insuring people in the affected areas can automatically route documentation through claims processing. Workflow also helps speed approvals for those in need by making sure documentation is complete and accurate, minimizing second steps while notifying stakeholders throughout the process.

You can even empower your agents to capture data on the ground and quickly get it into your line-of-business systems, freeing them to help victims faster.

Helping people put their lives back together

Imagine how quickly you could start helping insureds if you were able to speed your claims processing by 300 percent, like Folksam Sports Insurance did. And, by utilizing electronic documents instead of paper, you ensure your own organization can recover quickly if a storm damages its physical location.

Time is of the essence right now. So the quicker you can capture information in one place, identify losses, and provide resources, the quicker you can help people get their lives back together.

Because that’s what its’ all about.

Cara McFarlane

Cara McFarlane

Cara McFarlane is the global solution marketing manager for Hyland’s insurance vertical. Her mission is to effectively position Hyland as the leading content services platform within the insurance market by... read more about: Cara McFarlane

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