WASHINGTON – Marguerite Tortorello, senior vice president, public affairs at The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) issued the following statement on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management hearing entitled “Rebuilding After the Storm: Lessening Impacts and Speeding Recovery.”
“PCI commends Chairman Lou Barletta (R-PA) and members of the House Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management for holding this important hearing,” said Tortorello. “PCI strives to help policyholders better understand their insurance policies and take steps to be financially as well as physically prepared for natural disasters, before, during and after a disaster. Improved resiliency and increased coordination between federal, state and local emergency managers and insurers will save lives, lessen the rising costs of disasters, and speed up the rate in which emergency managers and insurers can assist residents with the recovery process.
“As Congress looks for ways to improve the natural disaster recovery process, Partners in Recovery, a Florida Emergency Management/Insurance Community Cooperation Pact, and the Oklahoma Insurance Department pre-badge program are models of how state and local emergency managers are working with insurers and other stakeholders to enhance efficient working relations during natural disasters,” continued Tortorello. “Establishing a mutual pact with state and local emergency managers to authorize insurance adjusters access to a disaster area pre-event, allows the emergency managers and insures to act more swiftly in providing assistance to consumers and helping people in need.”
Partners in Recovery, a Florida Emergency Management/Insurance Community Cooperation Pact, established an agreement with the Division of Emergency Management to expedite adjuster entry by establishing passes to be distributed to insurance adjusters and other designated representatives in advance of hurricane season. This mutual cooperation ensures access to insurance agents in a hurricane impacted area to provide assistance. The badges can be used for general identification purposes as adjusters carry out their responsibilities on a long-term basis and have been found to be very effective.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department established a process to issue badges to adjusters and worked with local law enforcement to grant those agents with badges quick access through safety checkpoints. These actions were effective in combating fraudulent sales. After the Moore, Tornado in 2013, the Oklahoma Insurance Department issued over a thousand badges to Oklahoma-licensed agents and adjusters to allow them into the field.
PCI has also partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather-Ready Nation to enhance real-time information sharing to help residents stay safe by alerting residents in advance of natural disasters and assisting with recovery efforts. “PCI and our members believe that technology – specifically the use of social media can enhance real-time information sharing by increasing public-private communications,” continued Tortorello.
In addition, PCI’s website includes digital interactive tools, videos and resource guides to assist residents with creating a home inventory, a checklist for before, during, and after a disaster, access to mobile apps that cover everything from helping consumers address their insurance needs to weather updates, disaster preparations and locating shelters and services to help you contact loved ones.
“PCI commends Congress for assessing improvements to enhance mitigation efforts, lessen the impact and speed the recovery following natural disasters,” concluded Tortorello.
PCI will host the National Flood Conference May 17 – May 20, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Educational sessions will discuss opportunities to further lessen impacts and speed the recovery process.