A month after the rains, southern Louisiana is struggling to recover from historic flooding. And Assurant continues to be there to help customers whose homes were damaged in the deluge.
Prolonged rainfall in mid-August dumped some two feet of water in areas across the south central and southeast portions of Louisiana. The storm – which never reached the naming status of a tropical storm – nonetheless dropped three times the rain brought by Hurricane Katrina. Twenty Louisiana parishes were declared disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
In response to the disaster, Assurant, as a leading provider of flood insurance, dispatched staffers to a mobile loss-draft center in Baton Rouge on Aug. 29. This mobile unit allows area residents to obtain claims settlement checks on the spot, speeding up rebuilding and recovery.
“We had five feet of water to deal with and long lines to get help,” said one customer at the Baton Rouge center. “This setup is a blessing, and y’all made it easy.”
Overall, as of Sept. 15, Assurant has fielded more than 3,300 claims – flood insurance, homeowners and renters policies, even antique auto coverage. Crews are working quickly to process claims and issue payments. On homeowners insurance claims, for example, 66 percent of claims have already been closed, with the average time from first report to completion of just 16 days.
“Our attitude from the start has been all hands on deck,” said Steve Johnson, senior vice president of Claims. “This is what we’re here to do. We make a promise to our customers – to protect what matters most – and now we’re delivering that promise. We deployed many claims professionals to Louisiana, with many more serving customers from our offices.”
“It’s the moment of truth,” added Ryan Lumsden, senior vice president of Flood Solutions. “It’s the point in time when our customers are expecting us to be there – to help them recover and get back on their feet.”
While Assurant’s teams work to help customers, the company is helping Louisiana recover in other ways. The Assurant Foundation, the charitable arm of Assurant, has donated $50,000 to the American Red Cross for its flood relief efforts. And the foundation also is matching all Assurant employee donations, 2-for-1.
Tragically, much of the flooding occurred in areas where such occurrences are rare, and many Louisianans did not have flood insurance. Others learned that many homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage. The result is thousands without insurance coverage to cope with the disaster, which Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards termed “a historic, unprecedented event.”