Time to Execute
Execution is everything when discussing performance. With that said, execution is only as good as the plan that is in place. Whether this is your first CAT response or tenth, you need to be able to rely on the planning and the process you built to handle all phases of the CAT response from First Notice of Loss (FNOL) to claims settlement and repair verification.
By far the most important phase in a CAT response is the FNOL intake. This phase is where you gather precious data about the claims that are entering your claims handling process. Equally important to the data captured in this phase is setting a realistic expectation to the caller as this will be your chance to make sure they understand the process and the role they will play throughout the process. By doing this, you will be setting the stage for ensuring you have a satisfied insured. Also, setting expectations will reduce the number of additional and escalation calls throughout the process – calls that can take a toll on your resources.
As you diligently execute your plan, you will uncover flaws. You will have many moments in which you are tempted to change course and incorporate a different handling process. I would urge you NOT to do this. Instead, make notes and save them for a post-event lessons-learned session, which I’ll cover in my next segment. It’s important to remember that your plan is in place to effectively manage a team that is larger than what in place for the day-to-day. Your CAT team consists of many new members that have been trained on your systems, and the process outlined in your plan. Making significant changes increases the chance for misconceptions or mishandlings which could be costly due to the volume of claims during a CAT response. It will be better to take the lessons learned to make sure your next CAT response is an even better one.
While making changes to your process is risky, at times updates may be needed. Due to this, it is essential to have a communication plan in place to make sure all members of your teams have consistent information and receive updates as needed. These updates may be simple things like changing the expectations for following up after inspections, adding to your FAQ list based on your experiences, or reminders to the team based on errors you are finding. Setting expectations is by far the most crucial aspect of your message to your policyholders, but a close second is making sure the messages relayed are consistent, and the best way to do that is to ensure your team has the necessary information. To make sure your team has the latest, it is a best practice to hold regular meetings and have scheduled communications with your staff. It’s important to set specific times to release updated information and scripts so your team can expect to look for them and provide feedback.
The phases of a CAT Response come in waves. After a while, you will see the majority of your focus shifts from FNOL to questions about when the adjuster will be out. A week or two after that the focus will change from seeing an adjuster to the timing of the settlement check. As time goes on you will see things calm down and the focus will shift to supplemental payments, and disputes on settled amounts. This all seems like a lot, doesn’t it? However, if you are following the plan you have in place; communicating consistently with your team, insureds and other involved parties, your CAT response will be manageable and effective.