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Tornado Relief: Insurers Head West

Three insurers deployed web-enabled vehicles with additional devices in an effort to relieve tornado victims quickly and efficiently.

After a recent outbreak tornadoes struck Washington Ill, insurers turned to technology to quickly and efficiently help people get back on their feet. Some insurers have developed applications that are available to claims adjusters and customers. Others have sent out web-enabled vehicles decked with a number of devices.

“A lot of them have apps for smartphones that include a lot of things, such as a place to report a claim, upload the photos and even start making a list of damaged items and things like that,” says Robert Passmore, senior director of personal lines policy at Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. “If it’s a smaller claim, the insurer can even so an estimate based on the photograph, but other than that, sometimes you can even schedule emergency services.”

One example is Allstate, which deployed mobile claims centers and a catastrophe response vehicle for policyholders in Illinois and Indiana. The temporary claims centers include generators and satellite technology. Adjusters use the vehicles to canvass severely damaged neighborhoods.

Similarly, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, and State Farm have also deployed high-tech vehicles. State Farm also uses aerial measurement services so adjusters can get roof measurements and create a sketch of a building footprint, the company said in an e-mail to I&T.

[Read: How Did Hurricane Sandy Affect Insurance Tech Strategies?]

Zarna Patel is a staff writer for InformationWeek's Financial Services brands, which include Bank Systems & Technology, Insurance & Technology and Wall Street & Technology. She received her B.A. in English and journalism from Rutgers University College of Arts and Sciences in ... View Full Bio

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