This summer, floods wreaked havoc in areas throughout ERIE’s footprint. In June, it was West Virginia. Then parts of Maryland and eastern Pennsylvania faced flooding in late July.
ERIE’s Catastrophe (CAT) Response team is always ready when disaster strikes. We spoke with Mark Dzuricky, catastrophe operations manager, about what happens when ERIE customers face flooding.
ERIE: Mark, you work with your team of first responders—the catastrophe adjusters-- dedicated to handling claims during severe weather events. Tell us a aboutit.
Mark Dzuricky (MD): Our team is embedded throughout ERIE’s entire footprint. It supports rapid response as our team remains ready to respond at a moment’s notice. Having a team dedicated to CAT response assists our field offices in handling the large volume of claims during weather events like floods. A team also enhances the service we’re able to provide our customers.
ERIE: There’s been some major flooding in the ERIE footprint this summer. What’s the response looked like?
MD: Our response to flood events mirrors our response to any event. The West Virginia flooding event in late June was absolutely devastating. While flood damage is not covered under most homeowners or renters insurance policies, ERIE customers still file claims to see if any potential coverage exists. Additionally, many times flooded areas can be declared disaster areas which will trigger a FEMA response. In these instances, customers need to give FEMA their claim denial letter in order to be considered for relief assistance.
Let’s not forget that autos are also impacted by flooding and coverage is provided under our auto policy for flooding as long as customers carry comprehensive coverage.
Throughout the summer, we’ve seen thousands of customers face claims for damages caused by flooding and more. Regardless of whether or not coverage applies, we maintain the same level of response required and expected of our CAT team. This allows us to be there for our customers to help them navigate thru the process while making sure they are well-informed. We make sure we leave customers in the best possible place they could be in, considering the situation.
ERIE: What is the experience like for the team?
MD: Responding to any event is challenging, and flooding is no exception. Often, we’ll encounter roads and bridges that are washed out or areas that are inaccessible due to high water or other safety issues. When we’re able to safely enter an area, we are there ready to respond. The immediate impact our team–CAT adjusters, other claims handlers and agents—has on customers when responding to an event is very rewarding. We’re here for customers during their most trying and stressful times. We do all that we can to put our customers at ease so they can be reassured that ERIE is here for them.
Did you know that less than seven percent of homeowners have flood insurance? This is true despite the fact that homes in areas not especially prone to floods may very well need flood insurance.
The good news is that most (but not all) communities are eligible for flood insurance. An insurance professional like an Erie Insurance agent can tell you if it’s available in your area. If it is, you can purchase flood coverage through ERIE’s partnership with American Bankers Insurance Company, a top-ranked federally funded flood carrier. If you’re interested in flood insurance, it’s better to act sooner rather than later since there’s a 30-day waiting period before the policy goes into effect.
In addition to contacting your Erie Insurance agent, you can also learn more about flood prevention and the NFIP by visiting FloodSmart.gov or floodtools.com, or by calling 1-800-CALL-FLOOD (1-800-225-5356).