2012 – Another Record Year for Natural Disasters

In 2011 there were 14 natural disasters in the United States that cost insurance companies upwards of one billion dollars each…totaling around $60 billion dollars. Although 2012 hasn’t surpassed this record, it is getting close with 11 recorded disasters so far this year. The widespread drought across the Midwestern United States, Hurricane Sandy affecting the Northeast, and Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf Coast exemplify the scale and magnitude of destruction we’ve seen in 2012But for many, the disaster that causes the total loss to their homes and businesses is just the beginning of a long and often times difficult process of submitting insurance claims. Now everyone’s focus is on providing relief to those who have literally lost everything by helping homeowners and businesses get their lives and livelihoods back as quickly as possible.One of the easiest ways to do so is by “going paperless”. Over the past few years financial institutions and retail merchants alike have all made the switch as consumers increasingly prefer to go cashless and stop dealing with paper checks. . Insurance carriers should also be thinking about what the convenience of debit cards can mean for them. By switching to debit card payments to the insured instead of paper checks, you are helping make the customer’s life a little easier in their time of need. They won’t have to wait for the check in the mail, go to the bank, wait for the check to process, and then finally cash the check to go shopping to replace their contents. But the switch can also mean better convenience for insurance carriers and agents as well. Printing and tracking paper checks can be costly, around $10-$19 per check. Debit cards on the other hand are cheap in comparison. A debit card can provide a record of every purchase made and of the insured’s balance in case of a lost card or fraud, and cards can easily be reloaded for additional payments. The debit card switch can easily be integrated into the claims payments system. And agents at ground zero can load and activate cards for immediate use.

Policy holders are living in an e-commerce world, and carriers can significantly increase their value and customer service to insured’s by offering the convenience of electronic payments at the time when people need it most.

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