Is Your Insurance Organization Prepared for Disaster?

Laurie Ranegar is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at ReSource Pro, and has been with the company since 2015. She specializes in business process transformation and operational performance and optimization.

The recent destruction caused by epic hurricanes in the last few weeks has brought to light how important business continuity planning is to insurance organizations – especially for those insurance agencies that were hit by the same disaster as their insureds.

Throughout 2017, I have had the opportunity to work in our offshore Service Delivery Centers for extended periods of time.  When not in the office, I often listen to my favorite ESPN affiliate and for the past few weeks, almost every day, I have heard the same Public Service Announcement from  The announcer asks, “When is the right time to prepare your family for a disaster?”  Unfortunately, most of us do wait until there is warning of an impending disaster.   

I spent close to 20 years working in carrier claims departments.  Early in my career, I was working as a claims representative in New York City and Long Island when Hurricane Gloria hit Long Island in 1985.  Seven years later, I was working in the same company’s corporate claim department when Andrew devastated Southern Florida.  I experienced the storm tracking, risk location analysis, planning and mobilization of a large claims workforce that all went into catastrophe response. Yet, in the days before Superstorm Sandy in 2012, I was going from store to store to buy water, camping lanterns and batteries.  So, given my professional experience and being a known planner, why wasn’t I better prepared for a natural disaster?  


During the recent hurricanes, we worried about our clients and colleagues located in Texas and Florida.  First and foremost, we hoped for the safety of everyone in the path of the storms. Secondly, we offered our clients help with any priority work as they started to return their businesses to normal operations.  We involved our onshore Insurance Experience Center in Lincoln, NE and quickly rerouted one client’s phone number to our Lincoln Center. Our experienced insurance professionals handled loss reporting calls from insureds while their agent’s operations were interrupted.  We also followed up with carriers and insureds to confirm adjuster assignment for this client as well as for other clients.   

I was glad that we could provide help. But that PSA keeps coming to mind and I have been wondering, “When is the right time to offer help?  Should we be offering to help when disaster strikes or could we do something before?”  

In addition to supporting day-to-day operations, your external vendors can be an integral part of your business continuity planning and disaster recovery process.  External outsourced teams can be trained to address your highest priorities during and after business interruptions.  This might include first-notice-of-loss data entry, payment application and other time-sensitive work.  We recommend that you work with your outsourcing partners and have them perform a portion of this work on a regular basis to ensure their skills are sharp, if and when needed.  Leading up to, during and following a disaster your team will also adjust their procedures, at your direction, to respond to carrier binding suspensions, state moratoriums on non-pay cancellations and anything else.  


So back to the question, “When is the right time to offer help?”  It is a resounding before and after.  Any time there is a natural disaster or significant weather event we will reach out to our clients to see if there is anything that we can do to help.  However, we think we can support you more effectively if we prepare together long before disaster strikes.