This summer brought a surge of natural disasters across the U.S. One in three Americans experienced a natural disaster this summer, according to The Washington Post. From wildfire smoke blanketing the Western skies throughout most of the summer to Hurricane Ida devastating the Gulf Coast to destructive flooding in the Northeast, no area of the country was entirely safe. And, according to the UN Climate Change report, the world will face extreme droughts, severe heat waves and catastrophic hurricanes for decades to come.
When disasters strike, insurance companies can quickly become overwhelmed with calls and claims. This summer, the frequency and severity of natural disasters demonstrated the need for a distributed, scalable response team of knowledgeable and empathetic listeners.
A Scalable Response to Hurricane Ida
Hurricane Ida made a devastating impression in late August, reopening wounds left from Hurricane Katrina 16 years earlier. As the storm made landfall, more than one million people had no electricity, and the loss was insurmountable.
In the days following the storm, residents began taking the toll of the damage and started calling their insurance companies. In this time of distress, they needed quick resolution and an empathetic ear on the other end of the line.
At Liveops, a virtual contact center that provides customer care, we experienced the critical importance of having enough agents available in a time of great need. Our 27,000 agents, who can take calls for claims and assist insurance companies and their customers when disasters strike, responded to 14,000 claims just on Aug. 30 and 31. 89% of calls were answered in 20 seconds or less, providing customers a helping hand in the wake of a disaster.
Providing Empathy and Peace of Mind
Living through and recuperating from a natural disaster can be stressful and traumatic. Without basic needs like power or running water, survivors of natural disasters are often entirely reliant on the help and generosity of others — including the agent processing a claim after a hurricane.
Those recovering from a natural disaster don't need to experience long wait times, being placed on hold or even not connecting with an agent at your insurance company. Having them be able to make one phone call and reach an agent who demonstrates empathy and proficiency is invaluable.
With the likelihood of natural disasters and the need for a 24/7 response team increasing, insurance companies will also need to consider what may happen if a natural disaster hits their headquarters or affects their workforce. If workers cannot come to work or offices become unfit for conducting business, a distributed, scalable workforce helps keep operations running smoothly.
See also: 3 Keys to Leading a Team in a Crisis
The Unpredictability of Our World
Natural disasters aren’t the only circumstance in which a scalable response team is essential to processing an influx of claims. The last 18 months have demonstrated just how unpredictable the world can be and how the ability to adapt quickly is critical. When COVID-19 hit, for instance, the roads became eerily quiet, but people have started traveling again -- and car insurance claims volumes are skyrocketing. At Liveops, our call volume for our insurance clients has increased 134% year-over-year.
Insurance companies should thoroughly evaluate their response teams to assess their ability to respond to customer calls or even their own workforces’ ability to work when, not just if, a disaster strikes.
2020 and 2021 taught us that the world is unpredictable. 2022 likely has surprises in store for us, too.