For our customers impacted by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Beryl, Bankers is here for you as you begin the claims process. Click here to learn how to file a claim.

As the first week of June marks the beginning of the hurricane season, it’s important to be prepared for potential storms. Hurricane season can bring challenges, but with proper preparation and understanding of the claims process, you can navigate through it more effectively. Dionna, our Director of Claims, is here to share her expertise on post-storm recovery and offer valuable tips to help you prepare and respond to potential hurricane-related damages.

Meet the Director of Claims

Dionna Chambers has extensive experience in the insurance industry, particularly in managing claims during natural disasters. Her role involves guiding policyholders and our agent partners through the claims process, ensuring that they receive the support and resources needed to recover after a storm. With her deep understanding of the complexities involved, Dionna is dedicated to helping our customers get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

Deep Dive into the Claims Process

Filing a claim after a hurricane can be overwhelming, but knowing the steps can make the process smoother. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

Immediate Reporting: As soon as it is safe, report your claim to your insurance carrier. Quick reporting helps initiate the process faster.

Documentation: Take photos and videos of all damage and debris. The more documentation you have, the better.

Temporary Repairs: Mitigate further damage by making temporary repairs. Keep receipts for any expenses incurred as they may be reimbursable.

Detailed Records: Maintain detailed records of all communications and expenses related to the claim.

Access and Cooperation: Provide access to your property for inspections and cooperate with your insurance carrier by supplying all necessary documentation.

Behind-the-Scenes Insights

Handling hurricane-related claims is complex and presents unique challenges. The sheer volume of claims can overwhelm carriers, leading to delays. Competition for resources such as contractors and repair services can further complicate the process. Rising construction costs and increased opportunities for fraud add to the challenges. Additionally, local carriers often face the dual burden of managing their losses while assisting customers.

Bankers Insurance Group overcomes these challenges by:

Advanced preparation: Before hurricane season begins, we conduct extensive training for our adjusters and customer service teams. We also partner with a network of trusted contractors, repair services, and temporary staffing agencies to ensure we can scale up quickly when needed!

Efficient Resource Allocation: By using predictive analytics and historical data, we anticipate the potential impact of hurricanes and allocate resources accordingly. This means pre-positioning adjusters and supplies in strategic locations to respond swiftly to affected areas.

Enhanced Communication: Clear and constant communication is key! We maintain regular updates with our policyholders through multiple channels – phone, email, and text messages. This ensures that our customers are informed about the status of their claims and any necessary actions they need to take.

Fraud Protection: To combat the increased risk of fraud during catastrophes, our adjusters are trained to identify red flags and work to address any suspicious activities.

Community Engagement: We engage with local communities to coordinate relief efforts. By working together, we can ensure a more organized and efficient response to widespread damage.

Through these strategies, it ensures that we are not only prepared to handle the immediate aftermath of a hurricane but also committed to supporting our policyholders through every step of their recovery journey.

Preparation Tips for Hurricane Season

Dionna offers the following advice to help you prepare for the hurricane season:

Policy Documents: Print and store a copy of your insurance policy in a safe place.

Pre-Storm Photos: Take photos of your property a few days before the storm for comparison.

Emergency Contacts: Save the claims phone number in your contacts and write it down.

Important Records: Keep copies of important business records in a secure location.

Safety Plans: Develop and communicate a safety plan for your employees and customers.

Alternative Operations: Prepare for potential relocation and alternate communication methods.

Physical Preparations: Clean gutters, secure outdoor property, and back up electronic data.

Supply Chain: Identify alternative suppliers and consider backup power supplies for critical operations.

Consult Your Agent: If you have questions about coverage, such as spoliation, power interruption, or loss of business income, talk to your agent before the storm.

When a Hurricane or Storm is Approaching

When you know a hurricane or storm is approaching, take the following actions:

Print Your Policy: Keep a printed copy of your policy in a safe, easily accessible place.

Secure Important Records: Store important business records like receipts, inventory lists, and income records in a secure place.

Add Contacts: Save the claims phone number in your cell contacts and write it down in your important documents.

Take Pre-Storm Photos: If possible, take photos of your property a few days before the storm.

Safety First: Focus on the safety of your customers and employees by having a shelter plan in place.

Document Communications: Train your employees to document all calls from your carrier, agent, and contractors.

Alternate Communication: Implement alternate ways for your customers to reach you if you have to relocate.

Relocation Plan: Prepare for the possibility of moving to an alternate location.

Back Up Data: Ensure all electronic data is backed up before the storm.

Backup Power: Consider installing backup power supplies for critical operations.

Alternative Suppliers: Identify alternative suppliers in case your usual suppliers are also affected.

Physical Preparations: Clean gutters and drains, seal doors and windows, invest in shatter-proof glass, trim nearby trees, secure outdoor property, and move important documents and property away from doors and windows.

Electronic Funds Transfer: Be prepared for the possibility of electronic funds transfer and wire transfers for claim payments.

If You Experience a Loss

If you experience a loss due to a hurricane, follow these steps:

Report the Claim: Report your claim as soon as possible.

Mitigate Damages: Make temporary repairs and secure your property. Keep a detailed record of expenses incurred.

Document Damages: Take photos and videos of damage and debris. More documentation is better.

Provide Access: Work with your carrier to provide all necessary documentation and access to your property.

Track Communications: Ensure all employees keep track of communications from agents, carriers, and contractors.

Reliable Contractors: Identify and contact reliable, licensed, and insured contractors to help with repairs.

Data Recovery: Recover and back up data if necessary.

Proper Disposal: Determine proper disposal procedures and retain damaged property until inspected by your insurance carrier. Your carrier may require you to turn over damaged equipment to them.

Stay Safe and Prepared

Being prepared for hurricane season can significantly reduce the stress and impact of a storm. By following the advice of our Director of Claims, Dionna, and understanding the claims process, you can ensure a quicker recovery. For more information and resources, visit our Storm Center webpage.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Visit our Hurricane Readiness Kit and Storm Center to learn how to file a claim and prepare for the upcoming hurricane season. Stay safe and be prepared!

National Intern Day is a great time to bring awareness to internship programs and the students who take part in them. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and an Internship program is an excellent way to gain valuable corporate experience, learn how to work in a team environment, and work with a mentor. Interns aren’t the only ones who benefit from an internship; they bring immeasurable value by providing a new perspective and insightful ideas. Every year we work with interns, and every year we are thankful for their hard work and the diversity they bring to our departments.

What Is National Intern Day?

National Intern Day is a day to recognize and celebrate future leaders. We want to make sure we do that today by giving a special thanks to all the interns who’ve worked for our businesses this summer. Whether they pursue their future in finance, entrepreneurship, computer engineering, or graphic design, they have each contributed to our departments in very different but helpful ways.

This year for National Intern Day, Alexander McMurray, Marketing Intern for Bankers Insurance Group, interviewed and wrote an article about some of our 2021 interns. To learn about our current summer interns and some of the projects they’ve been a part of, continue reading.

Samuel Ciulla

Samuel is a Southeastern University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Science in Legal Studies. As he aspires to achieve his master’s degree from the Stetson University College of Law and become an attorney, he works as an intern for Bankers Financial Corporation’s legal department.

Many projects Samuel completed for this department ranged from research and organization to contracting. For instance, he compiled and reorganized data from several contracts with tier 1 vendors into a single, complex spreadsheet. This allowed other legal employees to check and examine important pertinent contract details, such as termination dates and renewal information. Samuel also researched and compiled hundreds of federal and state work departure laws for DecisionHR, providing the subsidiary clarification on which paperwork should be sent to leaving employees.

Before the internship, Samuel had little experience with employment law outside of school. Still, with Bankers, he developed a strong understanding of the government contracting process, learned effective research techniques with helpful databases, and connected with others in the legal industry. While his job was remote, he found the work environment very supportive as employees taught him new things and guided him in applying his skill and knowledge. According to Samuel himself, “the great thing about working in-house for a corporation is that you are exposed to a broad array of legal matters, which is perfect for someone like me who is trying to decide what field of law I want to enter for my career.” Because of how valued he felt like a team member, he strongly recommends this internship at Bankers to other law students.

Matthew Clockel

 Matthew is a senior at Southern New Hampshire University, pending graduation in 2022 with a Bachelor’s degree in computer science. With an interest in software engineering and a passion for predicting future data trends, he works as an intern for the IT – Application Development department at Bankers Insurance Group.

During this internship, Matthew worked on five IT stories that make the website’s API much more reliable to policyholders and customers in need of information regarding their policies. In the first story, he designed HTML edits for three different API service pages that include necessary verbiage about water damage, informing customers to contact for support.

Matthew also programmed buttons in the consumer portal policy for the second story that provides homeowners a list of all their HO and PHO policies. The third story was relatively simple, as it involved adding just one word to one of the API’s quote pages and integrating it into SQA for testing. However, it was still a necessary task that could only be complete with experienced computer engineers.

Matthew had a lot of coding experience prior, but Bankers allowed him to learn how that knowledge is applied to the corporate work environment and overcome tough challenges in the industry. “There is a lot of different APIs,” he said, “and learning how to connect everything properly has been a challenge, [but] The IT team has been a great help guiding me in the right direction for success.” By being a part of the IT team, he learned a lot about APIs, databases, and their application. He more than recommends this intern to anyone with a similar major or interest as him.

Matthew Jasiulewicz

Matthew is a 5th-year student at the University of Florida pursuing a Master’s Degree in International Business. Aspiring to become an expert in the analytical field of finance, he learned about Bankers from his school’s career fair and now works for its Actuarial Department.

Since joining, Matthew completed various projects involving competitor research, providing recommendations for how the team should address concerns and update many documents and spreadsheets. At times, they proved to be challenging tasks, such as one Commercial Lines project he described as having an enormous, countless volume of information in need of his organization. However, with the help of fellow co-workers at Bankers, he completed these tasks with flying colors and strengthened both his problem-solving and communication skills. “My team helped by providing me coaching on better usage of Excel and its many processes to organize the information I had,” he claimed. Because of how well he understood the insurance business, business trends, and data organization techniques, he recommends checking out Bankers to other finance majors “without a shred of doubt.”

Alexander McMurray

Alexander McMurray is a graphic design major currently enrolled at the University of Tampa to pursue a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. With interest in helping and inspiring others through design and art, he works as an intern for the Bankers sales and marketing department.

For the company’s 45th Anniversary, Bankers Insurance launched a new brand, which meant that many essential agent and consumer forms needed major updates with these new guidelines in play. These included Bankers’ agency guides, contracting forms, coverage highlight flyers, hurricane survival guides, charts for wind guidelines, letter templates, postcards, and website layouts. Alex stepped in by utilizing his design skills and redesigning many of these documents from scratch. Not only did these redesigns make written information and procedures easier for agents and consumers to read, but they helped give the company a more consistent, professional, and optimistic image to stand out above competitors.

While Alex admits that some assignments were challenging, requiring multiple revisions, and narrowing down many different solutions for one document, he found enjoyment in helping others with his graphic design expertise. He also developed many valuable skills as a graphic designer and employee, learning important lessons about communicating with others and shortcuts to make during the creative process. He highly recommends it to interns who want to help a friendly corporation expand upon its brand and gain experience with design techniques and software in the marketing field.

About The Internship Program

National Intern day isn’t the only day to think about internships. Bankers Financial Corporation and its affiliates provide opportunities throughout the year in areas such as Product Management, Operations, Marketing, Business Intelligence and Analytics, Actuarial, Accounting, Finance, Information Technology, Human Resources, and others. You will gain valuable, real-world experience that will initiate a smooth transition into your career. All internships are PAID! You can learn more about the internship program here, learn more about Bankers Insurance Group or check out the careers page to see if any openings are available. 

Fireworks in the night sky, fourth of July safety tips

The Fourth of July is just a few days away, and with that usually comes fireworks, crowds, and injuries. Fourth of July safety tips will look different from previous years as most counties are canceling their firework displays to cut down on crowds and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Counties are encouraging community members to watch from their homes or are streaming their display online. Check with your county to see if they will be streaming a virtual show or try searching “fireworks near me” to see if your county is still putting on a display.

Backyard Barbeques or pool parties are always popular for the fourth. Make sure you are being safe and continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask, maintain frequent hand hygiene, and stay home if you’re sick! We understand the temptation to gather for large parties is extremely high; however, people should still avoid large gatherings and non-essential trips and visits. 

In our current environment, party planning must be all about managing risk and advance communications with all your guests! It’s important to always think about how our behavior affects others. We have put together some fourth of July safety tips for you and your guests.

Fourth of July Safety Tips :

  • No communal carafes of sangria or other beverages. 
  • Banish the chip and salsa bowls.
  • Keep everyone outside, where the virus is less likely to spread. 
  • Keep the guest list down to the number of people you can safely keep at least six feet apart in your yard and invite only those you can trust to follow your rules.
  • Think about who you’re inviting and what’s their level of risk.

As mentioned earlier, firework displays could be canceled in your counties. Now more than ever, there may be more families buying and setting off their own fireworks. It is essential to practice safety around fireworks. On average, over 150 people visit the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the weeks around July fourth. While most injuries are to the hands and fingers, fireworks can cause severe damage to your eyes as well.

Fireworks Safety Tips:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
  • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision.
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear.
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands.
  • Never light them indoors.
  • Only use them away from people, houses, and flammable material.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting.
  • Never ignite devices in a container.
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire.
  • Never use illegal fireworks.

For more July fourth and Summer safety tips, check out this article from ADT and our recent blog about pool safety. Stay safe and Happy Independence Day!