December 19, 2017 by Monica Kuzyk, President, Canadian Independent Adjusters’ Association
Imagine the evacuation order has been issued, and you have an hour to gather your family, emergency supplies and head to a designated safety zone or an evacuation centre. What do you take when your life is disrupted? For many families, this has been their reality over the past several months. They gathered their “Go-Bag” filled with needed medications, first aid supplies, phone chargers, batteries, canned food and bottled water. And just before they locked the front door they remembered to grab that file folder containing all the important documents – the deed to the house, mortgage papers, passports and yes, their insurance policies.
As claims professionals, our responsibility is to transform that “piece of insurance paper” into “policyholder peace of mind”. Throughout 2017, CIAA members responded to flooding, fire and wind events throughout Canada, and when called upon, CIAA members also responded to emergency requests for assistance in the United States in the aftermath of the three major Atlantic hurricanes that occurred in August (Harvey) and in September (Irma and Maria).
So how does all this happen? In Canada, if you do not hold an adjusters licence for the jurisdiction in which a catastrophic event has occurred, you make application to the provincial/territorial regulator for a temporary licence. In responding to US events, CIAA members carry with them the requisite documents supporting the request for Canadian assistance and duration of time they will be there, letters of sponsorship, their valid Canadian Adjusters licence, proof of Professional Liability coverage and a letter confirming they are a CIAA member in good standing.
It is also prudent to carry the provisions of the NAFTA Agreement that provides for temporary entry into the United States as a business visitor. Thankfully, CIAA‘s Executive Director, Pat Battle, ensures the necessary documents are put together and available for all CIAA members when a “call to action” occurs.
Why is this so important? Without question, the frequency of weather events continues to rise and policy holders’ expectations have undergone a significant shift. We’ve learned a great deal from the industry’s response in Fort McMurray. Of most importance, we learned that the responsibility to secure the policyholder experience during catastrophic events is shared by all stakeholders in the value stream. From the Regulator who expedites emergency licensing, to the Broker who advocates for their client, to the Insurer who provides adjuster autonomy to solve problems and take action in the field within an agreed framework. Every stakeholder shares in how the policyholder will validate the experience when the event is over.
We are also reminded, from the claims professional’s perspective, when called to investigate, evaluate, negotiate and resolve catastrophic claims, we must do so professionally with empathy and care. We better understand that mental health issues will surface from the trauma and stress of managing through these events. There is an opportunity to enhance awareness and provide support to policyholders and our colleagues who may be struggling as the devastation of these events unfold. The CIAA is committed to supporting our members through education and learning around this important issue.
Following our AGM in September, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the CIAA Executive Committee for their support as we continue our change journey. When we consider the rapid pace of change within our industry, there is little doubt that we can’t continue to address the future of claims in isolation. With that in mind, the CIAA will reach out to claims leaders and engage in strategic discussions, to better understand their challenges, to discuss the disruption that is happening in claims, and how together, we can continue to add value to our industry.
I began this message with a question: What do you take when your life is disrupted? For the CIAA, we’ll take our traditions, we’ll leverage our legacy of service, we’ll engage the passion and energy of our volunteers and we will build an exciting future for our Association.
“In the end, it is important to remember, that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining who we are.” — Max De Pree. ?