Lessons from Katrina: Weathering a Catastrophe

Storm Damaged Home

It’s been ten years since the fateful Hurricane Katrina, and this month’s edition of Claims Magazine takes an in-depth look at the lessons that insurers and claims specialists should have learned from this unspeakable tragedy. A lot has changed in the last decade, but even so, there’s no denying that a catastrophe of this magnitude can come quickly and unexpectedly, taking both individuals and companies to very dark places in the blink of an eye.

Ultimately, the article addresses the failings of insurance adjusters and contractors that occurred specifically during Hurricane Katrina and how similar failings can be mediated or avoided in the event of another disaster. With billions of dollars in damages, only half of which were covered losses, not to mention the loss of life and horrifying conditions, this was a cleanup job that still haunts many people today. As insurance brokers, what can we do to ensure that we’re caring for our people on the ground as well as our clients in the event of a similar event?

Claims Magazine suggests, first and foremost, that all teams discuss disaster plans and figure out how they’ll proceed before an event of this magnitude occurs. How will the team organize? Is there a backup communications plan in place should usual methods be knocked out? What technology will you use (cellular, satellite, cloud)? Is there a remote office location that can be used as a base until the crisis has passed, and do all workers have the ability and equipment to work remotely?

All of these questions can just as easily be applied to businesses beyond insurance. Much of the damage sustained during Katrina was sustained by businesses, many of which were uninsured or unable to get the help they needed in time to stay afloat. This is where being proactive is the key to success. Speak with your insurance company to make sure you’re covered for potential disasters, and ask them pointedly if they have plans in place to take care of you during a catastrophic event. Your livelihood can and should be protected, and you have every right to do what you can to make sure that happens.

If you have any questions about coverage or disaster planning, please contact us here via our online form. If you would prefer, you may contact our CEO, R. Glenn Matsen, directly by phone at 916-306-5902. We operate in 27 states and will be happy to find a solution that works for you and gives you the peace of mind you need.