5 Questions to Ask When Crafting Your CAT Season Talent Plan

Posted by Karen M. Lopez

With catastrophe season looming, it’s time to start strategizing your talent plan for both the expected and unexpected events this year will bring. Last year saw record-setting tropical storms and wildfires. While tornado activity was below average in 2020, 2021 is predicted to have above average activity, due to La Niña. No matter what this year’s CAT season has in store, having a strategic talent plan in place is undoubtedly key to ensuring your policyholders are best taken care of in their times of need.


How has your approach to customer experience changed?
The pandemic has shifted customer expectations in all areas of business. Has your claims process evolved along with these changing needs? Today’s consumers expect immediate responses, frequent and clear communication, and high-quality interactions. Human skills such as emotional intelligence, empathy and problem-solving are all vital in creating positive connections with policyholders. If your claims adjusters are primarily relying on digital and online platforms, how is a sense of affinity and understanding being conveyed? Face-to-face interactions are less frequent; however, the need for a human touch remains.

What will you do if there’s an influx of work?
As evidenced in 2020, multiple disasters may occur around the same time. Is your core team prepared to tackle an increased workload smoothly and accurately? By partnering with a staffing firm early on, you can increase your flexibility, ensuring you’re able to bring in additional trained claims adjusters and customer service representatives almost immediately. You may also consider cross-training teams, so individuals can step in and shift priorities when needed.

2021.03-blog-5Questions-CATseason-03Is your team trained on new technologies and processes?
If your company is going through IT migrations or technological transformations, make sure these projects are not inhibiting a seamless claims process. Consider bringing in trained professionals on a project basis to maintain productivity while your core staff ramps up on new systems. Additionally, contracted experts can assist with implementation and training, ensuring your core team is able to efficiently leverage new technology.

Does your team have autonomy to make decisions?
As you focus on the customer experience, remove layers and barriers to streamline your claims process. Are your agents able to handle inquiries and issues on their own? Do they have a clear understanding of when an issue may need to be escalated? Provide parameters that enable individuals to make decisions, granting them a sense of autonomy and empowerment while better serving your customers.

2021.03-blog-5Questions-CATseason-04Are there any potential scenarios you have not planned for?
By its nature, CAT season is unpredictable. However, thinking through various scenarios ahead of time can keep your claims department functioning smoothly. Develop contingency plans if remote employees lose their internet connections or power. You may also want to consider what will happen if key team members or their family members become ill or have to quarantine. Along with preparing for an influx of work, uncover other factors that might influence your talent strategy and ways to mitigate their potential for disruption.

By thinking through your talent plan early on, your team will be well-prepared for the unexpected. For more insight on ensuring a smooth CAT season, view our recent article on managing hybrid teams.