Weather patterns are rapidly changing and hurricanes are at the forefront of these shifts. Changing climate trends are causing hurricane claim surges that can overwhelm adjusters and insurance companies.
Over the last 40+ years, the number of major hurricanes has increased while smaller hurricanes have decreased. More major events means adjusters have slow periods followed by catastrophic hurricanes that flood their desks with claims. Monitoring these hurricane claim trends and creating a response plan is critical for processing claims and making insureds whole again.
What Causes Hurricanes and Why Are They Changing?
Hurricane season is long, lasting from June through November. Events can happen at any time during this season and are often detected well ahead of landfall. Although storm detection is excellent, it’s difficult to determine the severity of a hurricane until it actually hits.
Hurricanes form when ocean waters warm, forming tropical currents and storm cells that travel on ocean currents. Traditionally, major events occurred occasionally but they are quickly becoming the norm. In fact, four of the 10 costliest hurricanes on record in the United States occurred in 2017 and 2018.
Climate change is a major contributor to the increase in hurricane severity. As ocean waters continue warming, we can expect to see the trend of major events on the rise. Collectively, we can fight back by preserving barrier islands and coastline habitats that absorb the brunt of hurricanes. Changing where and how we build and design communities is also an essential aspect of preparing for a future of increased hurricane activity.
Examining the Current Hurricane Outlook
On average, we see roughly 10 tropical storms over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Some of these will never make landfall but more than half will have an impact. Within any three-year period, the United States will endure five hurricanes.
Looking at the statistics, it is obvious that major hurricanes will continue to strike the United States. We know the most likely months for the activity, but can’t pin down exact timing. The unpredictable nature of these storms dictates preparation throughout the entire season.
While the outlook shows that we will continue experiencing catastrophic hurricanes, that doesn’t mean we can’t practice proactive emergency management and prepare to mitigate hurricane damage and insurance claims surges.
Adapting to Hurricane Seasons New Normal
Insurance companies and adjusters can manage hurricane insurance claims by following a number of best practices. While resourcing every aspect of claims processing internally is possible, it also means those resources must remain available throughout the year.
Insurance companies must remain cost-effective in the face of major events. Specialized technology can provide tools that simplify emergency management. The following are just a few ways to process claims faster by partnering with Hancock Claims.
- Reduce Claims Processing Slowdowns – Claim surges leave adjusters under-resourced. With Hancock Claims, desk adjusters can connect to a nationwide network of field inspectors and estimators. We instantly upload and share visual and textual information.
- Mitigate Property Disputes – Contents services specialists accurately inventory and value property on-site or virtually. Items are instantly uploaded and shared to adjusters’ desks.
- Address Damages Early – Tarping and boarding immediately after a hurricane stops further damage from occurring and lowers replacement costs. Rapid deployment of professionals helps to mitigate damages.
- Find Contractors During Shortages – Hancock’s Preferred Repair Network ensures vetted and licensed contractors are available and matched to claims. Top engineers and other professional services are also quickly accessible through Hancock’s Expert Services Network.
- Serve Policyholders in the Moment – Adjusters can focus on communications with policyholders while Hancock Claims manages the rest. We handle contractors, engineers, appraisals and everything moving between the field and desk.
Insurance companies aren’t the only ones responsible for hurricane preparedness. Homeowners should do everything in their power to prepare for major events. Insurers can educate homeowners to ensure they are resourced and prepared ahead of major hurricanes.
Before hurricane season, homeowners can:
- Keep Emergency Supplies On-Hand – Keep water, candles, generators and non-perishable foods stocked ahead of the event. Don’t wait until the last minute to grab important supplies.
- Secure Emergency Housing – Before the event, look for housing alternatives. Hancock Claims can also assist with emergency housing placement after an event.
- Prepare the Property – When evacuations are pending, homeowners can board windows, turn off appliances and pack valuables.
- Communicate with Experts – Both insurers and insureds can benefit from studying evacuation plans and maintaining communications with emergency personnel.
With a proactive approach from both insurers and insureds, the coming hurricane seasons can see fewer claims and reduced losses.
At Hancock Claims we use state-of-the-art technology, to better prepare for and respond to the rise in hurricanes. Ultimately, we reduce the impact and facilitate a smoother recovery process. Don’t let claim surges overwhelm your adjusters. Get in touch with our team to learn more.