By Rohit Verma, Chief Executive Officer, Crawford & Company
Hurricane Ian inflicted more damage in Florida and the Carolinas than last year’s Hurricane Ida did in Louisiana, in terms of the number of buildings, vehicles, and infrastructure affected. It is the main reason Ian’s insured losses are likely to exceed Ida’s $36 billion.
Ian’s flood-damage claims are expected to exceed claims for Ian-caused wind damage as a percentage of this $40 billion to $60 billion event, even though only about 18 percent of Florida homes carried flood insurance. Crawford & Company anticipates we will be handling a significant percentage of these flood claims. Dealing with both insured and uninsured losses is going to be especially challenging.
As routes are cleared to the communities of Fort Myers and Florida’s southwest coast, Crawford continues to evaluate the impact of the hurricane and to assist with the recovery. In our fastest ever ramp-up, thousands of Crawford’s adjusters are already deployed – our largest deployment in history at such an early stage – and we expect this number to increase in coming weeks.
This adjuster engagement is spread across our U.S. CAT team: managed repair network Contractor Connection, our loss-adjusting business; Crawford’s on-demand inspection service WeGoLook; and edjuster, the technology-driven field and desktop contents claims handling solutions provider Crawford acquired in August 2021.
Crawford Global Technical Services also is engaged with several clients who are still assessing the damage from Hurricane Ian, and we expect the volume of commercial claims to rise as they get reported. Moreover, Crawford has fully operational support rooms in Gainesville, Tampa, Sunrise and Orlando, Florida.
Access remains challenging during the early stages of the response due to damaged infrastructure, but we have prioritized emergency mitigation services, board-up activities, and tree removal to help mitigate further damage and return homes and commercial buildings to a usable condition as quickly as possible.
As we get further into the restoration process, claims inflation and supply chain issues are likely to impact the industry’s response to Hurricane Ian. There will be intense demand for building materials.
Our immediate focus now is to help those who experienced devastating losses and restore lives, businesses, and communities affected by the hurricane.