Letter from the Editor

An Impressive Response

By: | October 1, 2013

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected].

The $70 billion economic loss that resulted from Superstorm Sandy is a well-publicized and eye-opening number. What is not as well known outside the insurance industry is the number of insurance professionals that were dispatched to assess storm damage and start getting checks to customers desperate for assistance.

In the days after the storm hit, Liberty Mutual alone put 18,000 professionals into the field to document claims and offer other kinds of assistance. Tens of thousands of additional insurance professionals were part of a wave of workers that put their own worries aside to take care of customers.

Police, firefighters and other emergency personnel are rightly admired for their role as “first responders,” the people who show up as soon as possible when catastrophes strike.

But according to Marty Frappolli, senior director of knowledge resources at The Institutes, a nonprofit organization that supports the insurance industry, insurance claims adjusters are the “second responders.”

They put aside their own discomfort in the wake of disaster to head into the field. There, they offer food, blankets and shelter in many cases, in addition to the assurance that the insurance “promise to pay” will be honored.

Many business owners learned some harsh lessons with Sandy. Due to inadequate coverage and lack of storm preparation, in some cases, they lost time, money and perhaps their very livelihoods.

But within six months of Sandy, 93 percent of the claims were settled. That is not a bad percentage under the circumstances and one the industry should be proud of.