Hurricane Sandy’s impact can still be felt, and as residents and businesses focus on recovery, insurers are taking in important lessons.

There are four steps insurers can take to mitigate the losses from the next big storm:

  1. Partner with policyholders. With advance warning, insurers can make small investments that can yield significant savings in claims payouts after the event. For example, insurers can rent storage space, transport customers’ valuables to safe locations, arrange for hotel rentals and take other initiatives to prevent losses before they occur.
  2. Communicate intensively. Agents and brokers should utilize every communications tool at their disposal to remind customers of the measures they can take in advance of a storm.
  3. Build preparedness into writing. Insurers should work with commercial customers to develop preparedness plans, building discounts into pricing when such plans are in place. Insurers can also help policyholders identify available sources of replacement inventory to avoid losing income when customers shop for items lost to storm damage.
  4. Empower customers. Insurers should encourage customers to take extensive physical inventory of their property using a digital camera or smart phone and send it on to the insurer. This can accelerate the claims process when an in-person visit is impossible.

A man stands in front of a beach home that was destroyed by a hurricane

Probably the biggest lesson insurers can take from Sandy is that there is a critical need for real-time access. In the event of such catastrophic storms, insurers who know where their customers are and what their customers are saying will be better able to provide prevention activities and real-time guidance about what to do next.

To learn more, read my article about mitigating loss from the next Sandy in Property Casualty 360º and if you have a subscription, check out this month’s issue of Best’s Review, where insurance industry experts and I discuss how vital a role technology played for carriers during the storm.

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