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Reputation is everything in the Property & Casualty (P&C) industry, a brand’s reputation can be strengthened—or damaged—with each customer interaction. This is especially true during times of catastrophic disaster when emotions are already high. As field agents are the face of the insurance company, their responses and treatment of the customer during these times is of the utmost importance. A simple Google search provides a plethora of examples where insurers and their agents have fallen short.

Take the case of the tornado outbreak that hit communities across Ohio on Memorial Day 2019. One family from Beavercreek suffered extensive damage from the storms, including cracks in the chimney that an engineer said could cause the exterior wall to collapse. Other damage included cracked trusses under the roof. The insurance company refuted the engineer’s report, agreeing only to pay to re-shingle the roof.

Many families impacted in the outbreak shared similar stories of their struggles with insurance companies.

The 2018 wildfires in California wine country resulted in numerous homeowner complaints of insurance companies dragging their feet or policy limitations that were unreasonable considering the damage. The situation was so bad that lawmakers stepped in to propose massive, state-wide insurance reform.

This included:

  • Requiring longer-term provisions for catastrophic damage
  • Requiring insurers to provide faster debris removal
  • Extending the length of time after a disaster that homeowners can sue their insurance companies.

Napa Senator Bill Dodd offered support to those impacted by the wildfires:

 “Families pay their insurance premiums year in and year out and when a major disaster strikes, we need our insurance companies to have our back.”

As a P&C insurance company, it is imperative to demonstrate exceptional customer support during these times of need. Establishing positive customer interactions will both ensure a high-quality customer experience and protect your brand reputation by encouraging customers to leave positive online reviews.

Be Aware of the Power of Online Reviews

When disaster strikes, insurance companies are under pressure to prove their worth to their customer base. Conversely, if companies fail to live up to their customer’s expectations, unsatisfied customers will post reviews of their experiences online. Websites like US Insurance Agents provide customer reviews for hundreds of insurers. Considering it takes around 40 positive reviews to offset the damage caused by one negative review, P&C companies need to rethink their approach to customer service and put greater effort on improving the customer experience, especially during disasters.

The cost to rebuild a reputation after damage has been done can run into the millions, much higher than the investment needed to avoid damage in the first place.

Avoiding damage to your brand’s reputation altogether may be impossible, but there are actions P&C companies can take to significantly reduce customer complaints and negative online reviews. P&C companies need to invest in advanced software that improves the customer experience. Using innovative field service scheduling software, insurers can dynamically create adjuster schedules, and improve efficiency, productivity, and utilization. By simply honoring scheduling windows, customer satisfaction scores can improve by 20%.

Proactively Engage Independent Adjusters

Adopting a hybrid workforce is almost a necessity now, especially for P&C companies with large service areas. Imagine the resource challenges incurred during the California wildfires.

Having contractors already onboarded, certified, and connected to the right tools and software makes it easier to respond faster. It also helps fill gaps in skills, geography or availability in an employed workforce. Insurers with a limited workforce will be called out by homeowners who see their neighbors’ needs being addressed while theirs are not.

Contractor management software ensures your customers feel supported during catastrophic events, as it seamlessly integrates a third-party workforce into your existing systems. This allows managers to identify and dispatch the right person to the right job every time. The best field service software is powered by customizable logic to meet each company’s unique requirements. Modern software solutions enable real-time status updates for in-progress jobs so managers can make adjustments as needed.

Workforce management services are another option, especially for companies lacking the resources to focus on building and managing a contracted workforce. These services do all the heavy lifting, including

  • Recruiting
  • Onboarding
  • Dispatching
  • Claims and payment processing
  • Quality surveys
  • Call centers

The best service providers are those that believe their contractors should act as an extension of the P&C company’s culture. They understand the impact those contractors have on the company’s brand.

Leverage Software to Synchronize, Standardize, and Streamline Efforts in Regional Offices

When catastrophes happen, regional offices are called upon to help with the broader effort. This requires collaboration between individuals, data, and processes. Using disparate dispatch systems can result in conflicting or confusing information, causing havoc and resulting in under or over-utilization of field agents. For example, an agent 30 miles away from the homeowner may be dispatched when an available agent is just 10 miles away.

 Ultimately, the customer is the one impacted as agents show up late, unprepared, or not at all.

Mobile field service software and workforce management software eliminates these issues by providing an enterprise-wide view of data across all locations. Manual, paper-based processes are replaced by automated workflows that help optimize productivity no matter where an agent is located.

When a Catastrophic Event Occurs, Be the Support Your Customers Need.
See how ServicePower automates complicated workflows, optimizes adjuster scheduling, and more. Request a demo >>

Insurance adjuster software gives adjusters all the data and tools they need on their mobile devices. Information about the customer, the claim, and the warranty are available in real time. Adjusters show up prepared, which improves the customer experience. Modern software facilitates faster payments and allows for more effective use of the adjuster’s time.

The best field service software also provides integrated operational data for more actionable insight. Managers can view adjuster progress in real time and identify problematic trends so they can be addressed before they negatively impact the customer or the bottom line.

Brand Reputation is Easy to Damage and Hard to Repair

A poor customer experience is the reason 86% of customers stop doing business with a company. How P&C insurers perform during times of catastrophic events is a direct reflection on the company’s culture and its operational infrastructure. With so many P&C insurance companies to choose from, it only takes a few missteps to lose multitudes of customers. In times of disaster, this can become a downward spiral.

Learn how your P&C company can protect your brand and your bottom line during times of catastrophe, contact ServicePower today.