The Rural Mutual Claim Department has a process in place for disaster assistance in response to catastrophic events. The Regional Claim Managers have the responsibility and authority to call for a catastrophic team to be assembled in response to severe hail and/or wind storms. It is the practice of the Claim Department to contact agent offices in the affected areas to assess the frequency and severity of the potential claims. A command post is established and adjusters from all areas of the state are assigned for “storm duty”. Certain agent offices and hotels throughout the state have been identified as potential command posts for catastrophic events. The storm teams will typically stay in the affected area until all customers with a claim have been contacted and the damage assessed.
When claims are reported to the home office, whether by the insured or agent, it is very important to indicate the severity of the claim. (I.e. severe tornado damage, no electricity, tree on house, minor wind damage, etc) Although every customer is important, priority must be given to the most severe cases. Specifying the severity of the claim helps the Claim Department organize and provide the best service possible. If multiple types of property are damaged, even if insured on different policies for a customer, the losses and severity should be reported at the same time. Customers should be advised to use their judgment to make temporary repairs and protect their property from further damage.
It is critical that the insured’s contact information and availability is received. Land line phone numbers, cell phone numbers, and email addresses are very helpful. With an email address it is easier to keep the agent informed as contacts, appointments, and settlements proceed.