Crawford teams poised for deployment as Laura makes landfall
UPDATE — 27 August 2020
Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana near the Texas border in the early hours of Thursday, August 27 and Crawford has teams ready to launch a major response operation across the central Gulf Coast region.
With reported wind speeds of up to 150mph, this major Category 4 storm is the most powerful hurricane to strike Louisiana in over a century and is projected to bring a storm surge of up to 15-20 feet - the worst since Hurricane Katrina wreaked destruction in 2005.
Thousands of people have been evacuated along the coast and millions more may be affected as floodwaters could reach up to 30 miles inland and not recede for several days, according to the National Weather Service.
In preparation for Laura’s landfall, Crawford has redirected resources to the Louisiana / Texas border and put hundreds of adjusters on standby for deployment across the region.
“Our focus is on restoring lives, business and communities as quickly and effectively as we can in the aftermath of this major event,” says Ken Tolson, Crawford’s President of Claims Solutions in the U.S. “Our objective is always to be on-scene within 48 hours. This may not always be possible if floodwater takes longer to recede, but for wind events, this is ample time to get access and start the inspection process.”
Crawford has been in daily communication with clients leading up to Laura’s landfall to get their assessments of how policyholders will be affected and to plan an appropriate adjusting response. “We’re also building virtual desk adjusting teams away from the storm sites,” Tolson says.
“Before COVID-19 these people would have been working from a center but now they have been trained and tasked to work virtually from their homes.”
New tools being deployed
Technology will play an important role in Crawford’s ability to provide swift and accurate damage assessments, loss adjustments and claim settlements in the wake of Laura, having leapt forward significantly since Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
“We have much better tools at our disposal now and much more of the adjusting process can be conducted remotely than in 2017,” says Tolson, pointing to huge advancements in exterior and 3D modelling apps such as PLNAR and HOVER that now allow adjusters and policyholders to conduct accurate property inspections from their smartphones.
“Our apps can take measurements in three to five minutes that would have taken an adjuster on the ground an hour to do manually in the aftermath of Harvey. In 2017, our self-service tools were limited to image capture, so the progression has been huge.”
Data captured by the apps is fed directly into Crawford’s estimating platform to produce remote loss estimates. In more than half of cases, inspections can be carried out by property owners, helping Crawford maximize the efficiency and productivity of its workforce as adjusters can focus on primarily on complex adjusting tasks.
Remote adjusting tools will also help overcome some of the challenges posed by COVID-19, and the pandemic itself has helped accelerate the adoption of new technology as people seek to avoid visits to their homes. During lockdown, Crawford’s YouGoLook app saw an 800% increase in usage, while the use of video collaboration tools by adjusters rose 33%.
For the most severely affected areas and those inaccessible due to flooding, Crawford will deploy drones from its 2,200-strong fleet to conduct aerial damage assessments.
Heightened U.S. cat activity
Laura comes in a busy period for U.S. cat claims after a quiet start to 2020. Hurricane Isaias caused major power outages in the Eastern US at the start of August, with current estimates pegging insured losses at around $4bn. This month also saw Hurricane Marco make landfall in Louisiana and a line of intense thunderstorms caused serious property damage in Chicago and the Midwest. Meanwhile, wildfires continue to rage in California.
Crawford’s resources deployed to the East to adjust losses from Isaias are being redeployed to the Gulf Coast as at least 75% of Isaias claims have now been closed. The insurance and reinsurance industry will be paying close attention to the wind and flood damage Laura brings to nearby major cities.
Contact us via our 24-hour ClaimsAlert call center at 1-877-346-0300 or email us at email@example.com for assistance with claims surges associated with Hurricane Laura.
UPDATE — 26 August 2020
Hurricane Laura is expected to make landfall along the coast of Texas and Louisiana early tomorrow as a Category 4 hurricane. It is gaining momentum as it works its way through the Gulf of Mexico, and government officials have advised residents to evacuate as the storm surge and dangerous winds are life-threatening. After landfall, wind and downed trees could cause power outages through the weekend as Laura travels northeast through Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee.
While Laura is forecasted to hit east of Houston, Crawford is aware that any shifts westward could have a devastating effect on Houston, similar to Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which lacks the infrastructure to prevent severe flooding. Our thoughts are with everyone in this storm’s path. Click here to revisit Crawford’s response to Hurricane Harvey. To learn more about the importance of leveraging technology for timely disaster response, read our white paper, “Leveraging On-demand Models for Disaster Response.”
Crawford has nearly 80 years of experience responding to catastrophic natural disasters. You can count on us to provide the very best service for your policyholders. They are more than just claims; they’re family. For assistance with claims as a result of Hurricane Laura, contact our 24-hour ClaimsAlert call center at 1-877-346-0300 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE — 25 August 2020
Marco has all but fizzled out along the coast of Mississippi, but Laura is expected to strengthen in the Gulf of Mexico today, becoming either a Category 3 or 4 hurricane before it makes landfall along the coast of Louisiana and Texas late Wednesday or early Thursday morning. Hurricane warnings have been issued for these areas, and residents have been told to expect extremely dangerous winds and potentially life threatening storm surge. Hundreds of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate as the storm approaches, including the Texas cities of Beaumont, Galveston and Port Arthur. Laura’s track is reminiscent of Hurricane Harvey’s in 2017, which left Houston crippled by flooding, along with extensive wind damage. Crawford Catastrophe Services orchestrated a large scale response during the 2017 storm season, which included our contact centers fielding more than 10,000 calls.
Due to COVID-19, we have set up a virtual induction center where adjusters are receiving client-specific training before deploying on assignments. Crawford’s CAT team is fully mobilized and ready to respond to the impact of Hurricane Laura.
For assistance with claims as a result of Marco and Laura, contact our 24-hour ClaimsAlert call center at 1-877-346-0300 or email us at email@example.com.
UPDATE — 24 August 2020
Marco has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it slowly makes its way to landfall in Louisiana Monday evening. Flash flooding is a major concern through tomorrow, as Marco is expected to dump three to five inches of rain across the northeast and north-central Gulf Coast.
Hurricane Laura is currently off the coast of Cuba and could intensify into a formidable Category 2 hurricane over the next few days. Laura is expected to make landfall late Wednesday on the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Houston.
Crawford Catastrophe Services is currently hosting client-specific training and assembling desk units in preparation for surges in claims volume. For assistance with claims as a result of Marco and Laura, contact our 24-hour ClaimsAlert call center at 1-877-346-0300 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ORIGINAL UPDATE — 23 August 2020
Residents of Louisiana and Mississippi are preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Marco as it makes its way through the Gulf as a Category 1 hurricane. The hurricane is expected to bring storm surges, heavy rain, and flooding. Winds are currently clocking 75 mph, and four to six inches of rain are expected.
Tropical Storm Laura, a stronger storm tracking a few days behind Marco, is currently heading for the Louisiana-Texas border. Experts are concerned that Laura could intensify to a Category 2 before it makes landfall mid-week. New Orleans and the surrounding areas are currently under a hurricane warning. The potential impact of Laura will be scrutinized over the next few days as the storm develops in proximity to the Gulf Coast.
Crawford Catastrophe Services adjusters are on standby in our RENOVO adjuster portal, and the CAT team is preparing for deployments. In addition, our ProAct Team of global, cross-functional experts are collaborating to ensure that there is ample coverage in Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana to handle client needs. Our team will be tracking both Marco and Laura over the next several days and will leverage all of our resources to provide a comprehensive response to these storms, from WeGoLook Lookers and drone operators, who are available to get eyes on damage, to our desk adjusting services and self-service app for contactless assessments.
Crawford has a solution for every kind of claim. For more information about our claims management offerings, visit our services page. Contact our 24-hour ClaimsAlert call center at 1-877-346-0300 or email us at email@example.com for assistance with claims associated with Hurricanes Marco and Laura.