A wildfire that rapidly spreads across state borders, a tornado that cuts across a city leaving broken buildings and homes in its path, an earthquake that topples buildings and injures thousands, or an unexpected hurricane that devastates a coastal area: natural disasters are unforeseen and unpredictable, often leaving a path of devastation and destruction in their wake. If faced with the sudden—and often overwhelming—demand that so often accompanies a disaster situation, is your organization prepared?
As the industry enters into catastrophe (CAT) season, your organization should evaluate your current staffing situation and CAT plan to ensure you are prepared for the worst. Following the recent recession, many insurance organizations embraced a “doing more with less” mindset and continue to maintain a “run lean” staffing plan. They are challenged to find the resources necessary when a disaster hits. Sometimes, no matter how proactive an organization is being, resources are simply tapped out in a time of disaster. As a result, disaster situations are one of the most common causes for insurance organizations to turn to interim staff for immediate support and assistance.
In order to be prepared for the upcoming CAT season, your organization should begin building a relationship with a temporary staffing firm that can react quickly when the need arises. Research available service providers and ensure that they understand your business well enough to provide efficient and effective talent on an immediate basis. Consider partnering with a boutique firm that has access to a database of insurance professionals and can easily provide your organization with highly skilled temporary insurance professionals ready to jump right in and get started.
Make sure to do your due-diligence and vet potential staffing firm partners to ensure they can meet your needs. Here are key questions to ask potential providers:
Describe your level of experience with staffing CAT events. Has the firm worked with CAT situations before or are they strictly focused on more general temporary solutions? You want to partner with an organization that has knowledge and experience with CAT staffing and the unique challenges involved.
How deep is your talent network? An organization with a deep bench of positions, locations, disciplines and licensures is better able to provide your organization with the breadth of experience needed to respond to CAT event. Having a wide-range of talent in their bench is key to successfully addressing any impending CAT needs.
How quickly are you able to deploy people locally and remotely? In times of crisis, you want to be able to react quickly. Policyholders expect immediacy. Make sure your temp staffing partner is able to provide talent who can be deployed immediately, don’t need much ramp-up time, and can jump in and assist in your work.
How do you handle employment and travel-related issues? Does the firm conduct background checks and screenings? Will they assist in getting talent to the locations where they are needed? Make sure to have an understanding of the staffing firm’s process before the need for emergency talent arises.
Do you provide any type of guarantee? What happens if a temporary employee isn’t working out? What if someone quits in the middle of the project? Your organization should ensure that a guarantee is in place to handle these situations and others that may arise during the course of the assignment.
Preparedness is vital to successfully navigating the impending CAT season. The race is on to develop the most seamless response to disasters and having an emergency staffing plan is key. Interim staff provide a unique opportunity for your organization to add qualified, experienced professionals to your team for these unexpected events. Their valuable contributions can certainly make an important and lasting impact in a short period of time.