“After Winter Storm Uri hit in 2021, our team put together a catastrophe (CAT) plan for similar future events. This meant we were ready when Winter Storm Elliott hit in December. The unforeseen complication was Elliott occurred over a holiday when more than 40% of our claims staff were on vacation. As part of our commitment to culture, providing employees work-life balance is important. We needed to quickly figure out an alternative to calling our adjusters back in from planned time off with their families and loved ones.
“I started calling policyholders on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, assigning approximately 88 losses to independent adjusters with our outside CAT partners at Team One. They worked 24/7, taking assignments via email to keep things rolling. This ensured we’d have a more manageable volume when our internal adjusters returned to the office on Tuesday instead of getting hit with 220 claims at 60% staffing.
“While a potential delay of 48 or 72 hours may not sound like much, we know that response time matters, especially in CAT situations. We can’t go missing when people need us most. Ultimately, we received about 540 claims on Winter Storm Elliott and nearly 300 of those within the first two days. Forty-five days later, we’d completed 85% of the claims on the personal lines side and 72% on the commercial lines side. That’s something to be proud of.
“The experience also provided an opportunity to reflect on how working in insurance offers a front-row seat to the power of humanity and personal connection. One memorable Winter Storm Elliott claim I handled was a fence damaged by fallen trees and high winds. Over the course of my visit, I learned that the policyholder—a gentleman in his 80s—was a woodworking hobbyist. He showed me some of the things he had made, including a stone engraved with the name of a buddy who died in Vietnam. He even played drums for me while I was there. I spent about an hour listening to him share things that had nothing to do with his claim. At that moment, it wasn’t about job titles or policy numbers—it was about sparking human connection in tough times and making sure my customer felt cared for. When it comes down to it, that’s what it’s all about to be part of Central.
“If you work in insurance, it’s instinctive to help people. I’ve worked with three other companies throughout my career, but Central is unique in many ways. Culture matters. Empathy is our DNA. As part of this team, you buy into that truth. For Claims, it’s going the extra mile when needed because we know it makes a difference to those who trust in us each day. There’s no more meaningful point of contact than being there for someone during one of the most difficult moments of their life. People eventually move on from a catastrophe but never forget how we showed up for them.
I was thoroughly impressed with the handling of my claim. Everyone was so helpful and efficient. It made the process of getting a rental super easy, too. Keep doing what you’re doing!"
It’s hard to improve on perfection. The claim process was so easy. The reimbursement money was in my account less than 24 hours after submitting my claim. I don’t know how you can improve on that.”
I think your firm has the customer satisfaction criteria honed to its finest point. If I were the boss of the claims department, I would be giving everyone a great big slap on the back to show my appreciation for their hard work and dedication. Performance like yours is rare in the industry. Don't change anything.”
My adjuster contacted me within an hour of turning the claim in to my agent. He was prompt, courteous, listened to me, and handled the claim perfectly.”
Central’s personnel have been outstanding and kind. Making a claim was much easier and more efficient than I ever anticipated.”
I don’t think there is a single thing you could do to make our experience better than it was. Everything was outstanding!”
I was extremely satisfied with the service I received. The agent was very courteous and helpful. I cannot think of anything that could have improved the service.”