Is Your Agency Ready for Summer Storms?

photo of a tree with lightning and a storm all aroundAccording to the extended forecast in the 2021 Farmers’ Almanac, summer should be stormy, with a greater-than-average frequency of thunderstorms for a large portion of the country. Many of these storms will be strong, particularly over the eastern third of the nation. These summer rainstorms may be severe and spawn widespread tornadoes over the middle part of the country during June and July.  Portions of the Central and Southern Rockies and Great Plains could also experience higher-than-normal thunderstorm activity. 

The Climate Prediction Center at NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,  is predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. For 2021, that means a range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected.  Hurricane season extends through November 30. 

 

Be Storm Ready

As insurance professionals, we routinely remind our clients to have an Emergency Plan.  We point friends, family, colleagues, and customers to Ready.gov for comprehensive guidelines to prepare for, stay safe during, and recover from major weather events and other catastrophes.  But do we take the same advice when it comes to preparing our Agency for storm season? 

Businesses that want to stay in business need to have a plan to prepare for and respond to natural disasters like severe weather and other emergencies.  A major vendor outage or building fire can disrupt a business for an extended period. Not having a plan—or having a poorly prepared or misunderstood plan—can lead to disorganized preparation or confused responses. This leads to the possibility of harm to employees, facilities, equipment, or operations. 

To plan effectively, it’s crucial to explore each area of your business and how it might be impacted by a major disaster or a smaller disruption so you can determine your level of tolerance for outages and data loss.  You’ll need to strike a balance between your tolerance and the costs involved to provide you with the ability to return to business. Current technology can allow for a myriad of Recovery Time Objectives (amount of time you need to bring a system back online) and Recovery Point Objectives (level of acceptable data loss from downtime), but it all comes at a cost. If you want to be back online within minutes with minimal data loss, you can do that, but it will require a hefty investment. 

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has created a free toolkit (OFB-EZ) that provides a step-by-step series of checklists to help you methodically prepare your Agency’s Disaster Plan.  The PIA Partnership Ready for Everything program – Planning for Crisis – is another helpful resource. 

 

No Internet?  Try this.

Let’s face it, our society lives online today.  When the internet is down or slow, it causes major disruption to all aspects of business and life.  Add a storm into the mix and the probability that internet connectivity will be disrupted skyrockets.  For insurance agents, this can significantly impact the ability to assist clients in their time of need.   AVYST company logo

AVYST eForms Wizard can be a helpful tool.  Because it works offline, we encourage agents to make it part of their Disaster Recovery Plan.  By downloading this powerful software to fully charged laptops or tablets, agents are better prepared to take claims and service customers when a storm hits.  In fact, eForms Wizard is a terrific tool to have on the computers of any customer-facing personnel for times when other online systems are not available. 

 

Invest in your Agency’s Preparedness

eForms Wizard provides an affordable, easy to implement solution for gathering client information digitally.  In addition to enhancing customer service, it empowers Producers to conduct more efficient fact-finding to get to market quickly with a complete and accurate submission.  The Forms Catalog includes 800+ ACORD forms and the company unique questionnaires and supplemental applications.  Enter information once and it flows across all the client forms.   

Make eForms Wizard a part of your Agency’s disaster plan, and your Agency’s growth plan!  For the cost of $100 per user annually, you can’t afford not to!  Get started today:  https://avyst.com/go/ 

 

Discounts are available for members of our various Partner Organizations (PIA, IIANC, PIIAC, NetVU / Vertafore Users).  As an example, eForms Wizard BRONZE is INCLUDED in the PIA membership dues, and GOLD is available at a 50% discount.   

Don’t miss our future blog posts!

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