With key assists from its call centers and pen-based tablet PCs, the Warren, N.J.-based Chubb Group of Insurance Companies ($14 billion in 2006 revenue) has established itself as a high performer in the field of catastrophe response, as indicated by a recent company survey.
In late July, the insurer announced that 95 percent of its insurance customers affected by strong April storms that hit the northeast United States were "very satisfied" with how their claims were handled. More than 29 percent of claimants from the April storms responded to the Chubb survey, which assessed promptness, service, claims submission ease, damage assessment satisfaction and settlement fairness.
"The integration of our service center, field resources and preferred vendor networks enable us to quickly assess the level of expertise needed to assist the customer and engage resources that can help mitigate loss, minimize customer inconvenience and move forward with repair and restoration," says William Turnbull, senior vice president, claims, at Chubb.
Turnbull credits Chubb's two call centers, located in Chesapeake, Va., and Phoenix, Ariz., with jump-starting the response process by effectively handling the dramatic spikes in claims activity that accompany a catastrophe. Chubb's call center phone system allows the two service centers to load balance incoming calls so representatives from either location can answer an incoming call regardless of where it originated. "During catastrophe events, we can immediately begin to assist the customer with guidance, refer them to resources from our network of preferred vendors and engage the expertise of one of our field resources to assist them on-site," Turnbull says.
When a catastrophe can be anticipated, a dedicated catastrophe manager helps ensure that Chubb-trained field adjusters are among the first on the scene by pre-positioning them just outside of areas likely to be affected. In the case of the April storms, Chubb adjusters from around the country were deployed as the storms developed and were able to provide customers with first-day response. On-site inspections were completed in the following few days, according to the insurer.
Technology on the Job
In the field, Turnbull says recent technology purchases are helping to mobilize adjusters and make them more efficient. New to Chubb field adjusters this year are GPS units and cellular modem cards. Two years ago, the organization equipped its adjusters with pen-based tablet PCs. The company declined to discuss the specific vendors or products it uses.
Previous to the tablet PCs, adjusters used laptops, which proved too cumbersome for catastrophe response situations. The laptops forced Chubb adjusters to operate in two worlds at once -- an electronic world for data entry and a paper-based world for diagrams and note taking. "Imagine walking around a loss site with a laptop," Turnbull explains. "It's like walking around with an open pizza box. It's difficult to balance, measure a loss and enter data via the keyboard."
Chubb's pen-based tablet PCs enable adjusters to electronically capture text, data, handwritten notes and diagrams by writing directly on the computer screen with an electronic pen. Turnbull says that the tablet PCs' functionality optimizes software that takes advantage of the streamlined nature of drop-down menus.
"The pen-based tablet PC enables once-and-done entry of information, which streamlines the workflow for the adjuster and speeds the process for the customer," Turnbull explains. "During a catastrophe ... this becomes critical to effectively servicing customers in a timely fashion."
Turnbull notes that field adjusters now can process claims more efficiently, which in turn enhances the company's retention rates and creates new customer acquisition opportunities.