Blog: Flood claims involving children

A family in a house within a bubble ontop of water

  • Children need to be reassured and listened to; the restoration process must be explained in terms they can understand
  • A streamlined recovery process can reduce the time they have to spend away from their home
  • When a favourite toy can’t be replaced, specialist restoration can help

A flooded home can be traumatic, especially for children. Jonathan Davison, strategic development director at the British Damage Management Association, explains how the claims process can be designed to protect the mental wellbeing of younger family members.

A 2016 report on Children, Young People and Flooding by Lancaster University and Save the Children highlighted “the need for insurance companies to listen more to children and families”.

Throughout a claim process, empathy and communication are crucial.

A home is an extension of one’s self. A flood can have a major impact on the lives of families and requires a sensitive approach from the wider insurance industry.

Any member of the supply chain should demonstrate empathy and consider consumers’ needs every step of the way.

Attention should be paid to reassuring children as much as adults – they are often more confused and distressed than adults.

Some professionals take the approach that doing the job is more important than liaising with consumers, which can be unsettling for those with unanswered questions. The communications should be child-friendly to inform entire families and explain each part of the restoration process. Listening to every family member is just as important, to identify everybody’s needs throughout the claim.

Flooded houses or flats often need to be vacated during restoration. For occupants, time out of the home, for an unpredictable amount of time without personal belongings, is a big stress. The effects on every family member is significant: daily life is disrupted, with extra costs for food and sometimes extra travel times to work and school, as well as the social and emotional impacts of living in alternative accommodation.

Each building’s recovery process varies but the industry needs to remain conscious of every family’s circumstances. Having a streamlined process, taking the necessary actions to dry the home, and acting to prevent further problems, contribute to reducing the claim life cycle and, therefore, the mental pressures for consumers.

With innovative technology and drying equipment today, restoration offers many benefits over replacement. A hard strip-out can extend claim life cycles, increase claim costs and prolong the time out of properties, which can negatively affect the mental health of consumers. Adopting an approach using specialist drying and a soft strip-out is likely to speed up the restoration operation.

It is also the sentimental belongings of consumers which simply cannot be replaced, such as a favourite toy or photographs. Specialist drying offers a solution to this. The need for specialist restoration should always be considered when assessing a claim.

Having relationships established before a claim arises ensures that damage management practitioners, loss adjusters and insurers can act quicker to involve specialist restorers in the process.

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