How National Flood Services Tests Our Own
Flood Response Plan without a Drop of Water
Flooding events didn’t slow on account of the pandemic last year. Hurricanes, dam failures, and river flooding devastated communities across the country while responders had to simultaneously prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Following any major flood, insurance providers and adjusters face high volumes of claims and a deluge of communication while many people are displaced from their homes and properties. The stakes of the pandemic demanded that these teams be even more agile.
Here at National Flood Services, we regularly simulate flood responses so that we can be prepared to act during any flooding scenario and get financial protection to our 1.4 million policyholders. Here’s how the pandemic has made us even better prepared.
Model Historical Flood Events to Strengthen Operations and Communications
Think of “mock disasters” as dry runs of catastrophic weather scenarios. To simulate a real emergency and test operations and communications systems, flood insurance teams replicate the conditions of historical flooding events.
For instance, a flood insurance team might choose the 2020 Mississippi River flooding in the southern US as a sample event, during which as many as 1,000 homes were flooded. Out of 1,000 properties, perhaps 400 are flood insurance policyholders – as not all who are impacted were aware they needed flood insurance.
Our team of customer experience and claims managers will then practice the model claims scenario. During this mock disaster, they might field policyholder questions, communicate internally and to partners, and test our technology platform to make sure it’s running smoothly and at scale.
This way, the team can address any hiccups that might arise on the operational side and practice communicating with a high volume of people under time constraints.
Remote Adjusting Adds Choice to the Flood Policyholder Experience
Choice is an important part of customer experience today. Customers want to feel empowered to have control over how and when they use a service, and they want to communicate in a way that feels natural. Afterall, dealing with flood damage can be stressful, but filing a claim doesn’t have to be.
Remote adjusting gives digital natives the ability to file a flood insurance claim the same way they order food delivery on their phone. That’s especially assuring for tech-savvy Millennial property owners, who are now buying homes in record numbers.
Nowadays customers of all ages expect instant service, too: 90 percent rate an “immediate” response as important or very important when they have a customer service question. With access to a mobile flood insurance platform, a policyholder doesn’t have to wait until the next business day to contact an agent or adjuster.
But mobile-friendly remote adjusting is just an option, not a new requirement. Some policyholders might still prefer to file their claim via mail and phone because that’s the method they’re used to. Those customers won’t be forced into digital systems, but the digital system is now available for the people who want it.
Testing with Decreased Staffing Capacity to Maintain Flood Response Service Levels
Air travel was not an option for most of 2020, which presented a new obstacle. Flood insurance teams couldn’t travel to the site of flooding and set up pop-up offices to help policyholders on the ground.
At National Flood Services, we tested our mock disasters with a lower staff capacity in 2020 to ensure that we can still provide the same service levels remotely as we would on the ground.
It was certainly challenging, but the practice has made our team better equipped to handle a flood emergency with fewer people. It also means claims and customer experience managers who would have normally relied on having access to local community infrastructure can now oversee operations remotely.
Remote adjusting also helped flood insurance adjusters help policyholders file claims virtually. While technology can handle most of the data processing and documenting, many policyholders may still want to speak with someone one-on-one, and they don’t just want to wait for the next business hours. With remote adjusting, policyholders can speak to an adjuster any time, online.
2021: Intensified Flooding Amid Ongoing Crises
Testing mock disasters is important because floods don’t happen in “best-case scenarios” – they happen against the backdrop of simultaneous crises and unexpected complications. Mock disasters take these parameters into account.
As the climate changes, millions of people across the country face new or intensified flood risk, from the Midwest to the coasts. At the same time, while the advent of effective COVID-19 vaccines means the end of the pandemic is now in sight, it probably won’t arrive before the 2021 hurricane season.
And the pandemic won’t be the only emergency to intersect with flooding. The worsening housing crisis, for instance, could have major implications for federally backed mortgages in FEMA flood zones. During any given flood, local infrastructure challenges might impact the flood response.
National Flood Services Prepares for Floods in Any Situation
As flood patterns evolve and the pandemic continues, there’s no telling how exactly flooding in 2021 will unfold, but we can be sure there will be floods, and it’s likely that there will be floods while COVID-19 is still a threat.
At National Flood Services, we strive to be prepared for any flooding event by regularly practicing mock disasters based on historical events with the constraints of current conditions. And we have 35 years of experience under our belts to guide our flood responses as well.
Learn more about National Flood Services’ story and how we’ve leveraged our decades of experience to give all of our policyholders the financial protection they need after a flood.