The Hartford's claim handlers will issue the cards directly to customers at a location near the catastrophe site, the insurer says. The claim handlers will determine the amount of money to be allocated to customers and will have the cards activated within a few hours of issue.
During a natural or man-made catastrophe, policyholders may not be able to receive checks at their addresses or direct deposits to their bank accounts, notes Vittoria Pace, assistant vice president, P&C field operations, The Hartford. "Not everybody is comfortable providing their personal banking information, so the idea of a point-of-sale or debit card became another offering we thought would be attractive to our insureds," she says.
The card transaction takes advantage of existing technology applications on the parts of both the carrier and its banking partner. "We didn't need to develop an extensive new interface or data feed to JPMorgan Chase in order to facilitate the process," Pace remarks.
The Hartford captures the necessary data to activate the card through its Alternative Payment Web tool, according to Jeff Rehor, assistant vice president and controller of The Hartford's claim finance group. The carrier plans to have a process in place by mid-July whereby claim handlers will enter information to initiate the transaction. "But then, through controls we have in place, those transactions will be approved and activated by another set of individuals at The Hartford," Rehor explains. The delay is not anticipated to exceed six hours.
JPMorgan Chase sees the Emergency Claim Card as an extension of its long-standing disaster preparedness business, which provides solutions such as emergency payroll services, according to Gregory Kerwick, VP of global sales for emerging payments, JPMorgan Chase. "We've been working with such programs for a number of years, and now I think you're seeing that in the insurance industry with regard to how [carriers] can be better prepared to deliver relief to their policyholders," he says. "The Hartford sees this as a cost-effective way to deliver high-quality customer service to their policyholders."
Both The Hartford and JPMorgan Chase decline to discuss the terms of their partnership. --Anthony O'Donnell
Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio