Blog: How can the wider insurance industry cope in times of surge?

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Unpredictable climates mean the industry is facing an increase of surge events and pressure to handling them effectively and efficiently. Jonathan Davison, strategic development director of the British Damage Management Association, shares his view on what could make the difference during surge events.

The ways in which surge weather events are dealt with by the insurance industry will always face scrutiny. With climate change becoming an even bigger problem across the world, the industry is under pressure to respond more efficiently to flood, storm and cold weather events.

Furthermore, the industry is seeing other surges caused by unpredictable climates, such as  a growth in property subsidence claims. How can the insurance industry cope and improve in times of surge this year? 

Employee levels and skills

The demand for damage management technicians and a wide range of claims practitioners can be just as unpredictable as the weather. Day-to-day claim volumes are being lowered, which puts a huge strain on maintaining a balance of employees for when companies need to respond to major surge events. Assessing future work load for business as usual is understandably difficult, especially when trying to retain and recoup staff as necessary. Damage management companies and associated sectors must prepare internally but coping with a fluctuation in demand makes the struggle even harder.

Companies within the wider insurance industry should prioritise focusing their attention on upskilling the employees already within their teams, as one way of potentially combatting the need for additional resource. The quality of expertise within a workforce will help to bridge the gap and assist companies to think smarter and react more efficiently regarding claims solutions.

This includes developing employees to adapt to higher roles. Ensuring all technicians are competent and up to speed with delivering current industry best practice means that they will be able to make better on-site decisions.

Quality is important, but expert technicians cannot be in two places at once and as such technology should be utilised further to support human resource.

Technology

Technology has transformed the way that property damage is assessed, measured and understood by the wider insurance industry. The ability to install remote monitoring and use drone technology equipment has reduced the reliance of repeat visits for on-site technicians, meaning time can be better spent by experts being where they are needed the most.

The abilities to analyse damage with more scientifically proven data also means professionals can be better prepared to commence restoration work more quickly and efficiently. Meanwhile advanced drying technology can help reduce claim life cycles significantly. Time is of the essence in any claim, but these factors are even more critical in a surge.

An integrated supply chain

While a company being fully prepared for surge events by having a proactive and organised team is critical, this attitude must equally be mirrored across the whole supply chain. Communication is essential and although there have been improvements in partnership integration for surge events, this can be pushed  even more if we focus our attention on working seamlessly as a wider team.

A breakdown in correspondence while dealing with a claim can cause delays and added stress for our customers. The industry must learn and grow from experiences managing surge claims, and we are certainly on the right path.

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