Citizens Is Ready
The annual Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1, and runs through the end of November but preparing to respond to a hurricane requires planning, teamwork and thousands of hours of hard work that keep every unit at Citizens busy all year long.
Working Hard Year-Round
Led by Citizens’ Claims, Catastrophe Operations (CAT Ops), Emergency Operations Center (EOC) teams, and employees in organizational units throughout the company, Citizens works year-round to ensure that we are prepared to respond to policyholders and agents in their time of greatest need.
CAT Ops employees update Citizens’ catastrophe response plans, conduct deployment training exercises, and communicate with employees and the public to help them get ready for hurricane season. EOC staff update field technology, equipment and resources, such as Citizens’ field services vehicles. Claims’ leadership, managers and employees plan, acquire resources and train personnel to be ready to respond to a massive influx of claims, should a disaster strike. Finally, customer service representatives in Citizens Customer Care Center stand ready to be the first line of contact for policyholders calling to report claims in the wake of a disaster.
Citizens’ efforts don’t end there. Before any severe storm or weather event, Citizens’ Communications, Underwriting and Risk teams also plan their customer support strategies.
During an Event
During an event, CAT Ops, Communications, EOC and Claims teams take action. In addition, Citizens Customer Correspondence Team, a unit dedicated to addressing policyholders’ concerns, prepares to handle an influx of customer inquiries.
After an Event
Even after the storm has passed, Citizens’ efforts on behalf of its policyholders continue. Among its activities, Citizens conducts a post-event response analysis and reviews lessons learned. In addition, the Citizens Special Investigations Unit works to prevent and detect fraud.
Citizens is ready for the next storm. Are you?
Emergency Ops - Always on Call
At the core of Citizens’ catastrophe response is Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs), which deploy following a disaster to provide services to policyholders in their communities when they need help the most.
The EOC provides field service vehicles and an army of volunteers who run toward trouble instead of away. Citizens’ goal is to mobilize a fully functional EOC within 48 to 72 hours or as soon as it’s safe to travel to the impacted area. It works with state emergency officials and others to ensure safety for employees and policyholders at its EOC locations, which are publicized via public service announcements, www.citizensfla.com and social media. Citizens can deploy up to five EOCs at once
Staying One Step Ahead
Practice makes perfect, and in 2015, Citizens employees worked toward that goal by conducting a variety of tests, including a sinkhole statute reporting project and first-notice-of-loss call center stress test, a satellite test and generator maintenance, and a catastrophe deployment exercise and emergency operations center deployment exercise.
Citizens has more than 100 EOC volunteer employees from departments across the company. These employees volunteer to be deployed for up to 21 days at a time and receive training in technical procedures and enhanced customer service.
“In a disaster, Citizens couldn't respond to its customers in a meaningful way without a top-notch Emergency Operations Center,” said Erin Vickory, Citizens’ EOC Coordinator. “We work very hard to make sure Citizens is ready.”