National Flood Services Looks Ahead to 2021:
A Q&A with Jonathan Young
2020 has been a historic year on countless fronts. From a pandemic to record-breaking hurricanes to an economic downturn, organizations and individuals have repeatedly had to navigate simultaneous crises this year.
The flood insurance industry is no exception. But the constraints of COVID-19 during an abnormally active hurricane season has been a pressure cooker for innovation. Leaders in the field have worked hard and fast to build processes that get flood protection and relief to people who need it, in a pandemic or any future emergency.
One of those leaders is Jonathan Young, Director of Client Experience at National Flood Services. He’s spent the past 11 years making the flood insurance experience for policyholders and agents as smooth as possible, and he’s overseen a number of product advances in this year alone.
Here, we share Jonathan’s forecast for the flood insurance customer experience in 2021.
Aligning Flood CX with Insurance Industry Standards
COVID-19 has pushed us to bring flood insurance to the vanguard of customer experience in the insurance industry.
This shift reflects CX trends more broadly, and also sheer necessity from flood policyholders. Today’s customers expect mobile, “always-on,” 24/7 service – and that’s just a “nice-to-have” in a sector like retail. In disaster recovery, immediate, straightforward service is critical for people who are dealing with an emergency.
The focus of all of our customer experience initiatives this year has been flexibility. In the past, much of the flood insurance industry has operated around business hours and long response times: “Call us later, mail us your documents, and we’ll get back to you when we can.”
But we know that when you and your family have had to evacuate your flooded home during a pandemic, the last thing you want to do is run to the post office.
That’s why we’re amplifying agile technology systems so that agents and policyholders can get what they need, how they need it, and when they need it. What that looks like is a digital experience that resembles the CX of first-movers in insurance. You can file a claim, message your agent, and receive your payment on your phone, just like you do everything else.
Helping Flood Victims File Claims from Wherever They Are
The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of two impactful flood insurance administration practices: virtual adjusting and pop-up offices.
Virtual or remote adjusting was around before the pandemic, and it’s already fairly common for insurance types like auto and homeowners. During COVID-19, we realized that virtual adjusting would be essential for handling claims safely during lockdowns. Flood victims can use their phones to take photos of the damage, and they can speak with their adjuster over video call.
But social distance isn’t the only benefit of virtual adjusting. It’s also allowed us to bring our flood insurance claims processing timeline down to just 22 days, which is well below the 49-day industry standard.
Pop-up offices provide another layer of flexibility. Traditionally, flood insurance teams rent office space in communities hit by a major flood to manage the large number of claims. This year, National Flood Services connected with third-party resources to create pop-up facilities in trailers and parking lots. That way, we don’t need to take up a ton of space to still be on the ground helping people.
Overall, the flood policyholder base is going to become more tech-centered as large numbers of Millennials start buying properties. We believe virtual adjusting and pop-up offices are here to stay for the customers who want it, even after the pandemic ends.
Giving Agents the Tools They Need for Seamless Flood Insurance Application and Administration
On the agent side, 2020 saw the launch of Trident, National Flood Services’ new cloud-based policy, claims and reporting platform. This technology has made it possible for insurance agents both new to and familiar with flood to manage their flood programs and grow their books.
Through Trident, agents can complete the flood insurance application process seamlessly in the system, with minimal review necessary on our CX team. Trident does the analytical heavy lifting, too, thanks to best-in-class tech, and takes care of…
- Property risk analysis
- Instant quote generation
- Automatic document scanning
Trident’s Agent Dashboard also organizes all the relevant policyholder information for agents, so they can just pull up the profile when speaking with a customer.
In 2021, we’ll continue to provide new Trident features that smooth out every part of the agent experience. We want to make it especially easy to navigate for agents who are new to flood, because we need more flood insurance agents.
Climate change is growing the number of people who will be impacted by flooding worldwide, and in the US alone as many as 70 percent of American homeowners have a flood risk not represented by FEMA maps. Flood insurance agents have a major opportunity to help them get the financial protection they’ll need.
In 2021, Making Flood Insurance Work for Everyone as Flood Risk Increases Nationally
At National Flood Services, we want to make flood insurance accessible to everyone simply because more and more people are going to need it in the years to come – even if they live far from the coasts.
It’s having flood coverage before a flood strikes that matters most for safety and peace of mind. We want to make it extremely easy to get. Cutting-edge flood insurance administration practices coupled with innovative technology has allowed National Flood Services to transform the customer experience for agents and policyholders into a short and intuitive process.
If you’re a property owner, head to our Intro to Flood to learn key information about flood insurance and flood safety. If you’re an agent new to flood, we’ve got you covered with our Agent Training Resources.