Hurricane Ike Leads to New Career

I essentially manage and direct a group of 100 field reps that go out and capture inventory for all the large loss claims throughout the country. My team is known as the Service on Site group, or the SOS group. We’re constantly moving and shuffling based on the needs of our customers and carriers.

I started working with Enservio a little over five years ago, about the time Hurricane Ike hit.  I had lost my job when the hurricane struck and shortly thereafter I was fortunate to be introduced to Enservio.  The experience of living through a hurricane is hectic to say the least. Everything, and anything, around you is moving.  I don’t have a firsthand account of what it’s like to be physically inside in the middle of a hurricane, but coming home and seeing the aftermath was incredibly demoralizing and emotional. It’s a difficult process to pick yourself back up and figure out where to start with the rebuilding. You ask yourself, where do I begin?  What do I do?  Who do I call?

Hurricane Ike hit Galveston Island directly, which is where my house was and still is today.  Living on the island we were forced to evacuate, and I left approximately 40 hours before the storm actually hit.  I went about 200 miles inland.  And then I came home the night after the storm.

Since that time I’ve experienced more severe weather experiences while employed with Enservio.  I travel all over the country and have helped people rebuild after, not just other, hurricanes but tornadoes too.

Most recently I was in Moore, Oklahoma. While I was working there with the SOS catastrophe team on claims for the original tornado, less than a week later we were actually chased out of town by another tornado. Bad weather is part of the job.  We chased it, and then it chased us right back.

These things are called super storms for a reason. I think the biggest advice that we give to our own staff is to just be prepared for anything and everything and be mentally prepared to help people in ways that you just normally wouldn’t imagine.

It goes way above and beyond the typical handling of a claim when you’re dealing with this type of a loss.  It’s not a regular everyday insurance claim. These claimants don’t just need help getting their house back in order.  They need help getting their life back in order. So we have to be mentally prepared to help people with the emotional roller coaster that they’re going through. That’s the best advice we try to give and prepare ourselves with when going into these kinds of situations.

— Michael Pelonero

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