It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Catastrophe World

Article, Claims Advisor MagazineMarch 2011

Insurance / Property

In a world full of storm chasers, live news coverage, and satellite imagery, catastrophe’s are immediately known across the world. The website weather.com is so popular it has its own “The Weather Channel Store” where weather fans can buy branded apparel and accessories for the whole family. As immediately as disasters strike, insurance claims start rolling in.

2010 was a big insurance year for catastrophe claims. According to the PropertyCasualty360.com website*, in 2010 “Worldwide, catastrophe activity was higher than the last three years, with 314 events causing nearly $38 billion in insured loss. In 2009, 222 events produced over $20 billion in insured losses.”

Claims resulting from a widespread disaster—natural or man-made—frequently involve many different insurers, commercial policies and policyholders. Claims management in these situations is further complicated by the loss or devastation of financial records.

“For years, insurers have come to rely on the technical knowledge and experience of forensic accountants to assist them in the measurement of certain claim components”, explains Tim Voncina, Partner at RGL Forensics. “Whether a claim involves components for business interruption, extra expense, damaged inventory or contents, the forensic accountant can be a valuable resource available to both adjuster and insured and can play a crucial role in the overall claims process.” RGL Forensics has a proven record of meeting challenges presented in these catastrophe scenarios. For the past three decades, RGL Forensics has provided complex claims support under the tightest deadlines for a wide range of U.S. and international insurance companies.

2011 is already shaping up to be a year full of unpredictable weather ranging from severe winter storms in the US, to floods in Australia. The Farmers Almanac 2011 Winter Outlook** reports that in the eastern third of the US “the upcoming winter will be the equivalent of a cold slap in the face, as we forecast much colder-than-normal temperatures”. Time will tell the full outcomes of the year in weather, but it is expected to be another busy year in catastrophe claims.

As fast as disaster strikes, RGL Forensics is ready to assist in the claims process. In each catastrophe case, the company dedicates a team to best match the particular circumstances of the case. As the firm is able to draw on resources from around the world, team members are strategically selected for their expertise, abilities to handle the heavy workload, and their language fluency.

RGL’s dedicated CAT teams are devoted to work on both first-party and third-party claims. The company is retained by the insurance company or its representative whose policy insures the business that sustained a catastrophic loss. The forensic accountant's role is to assist in accurately determining the extent of damages sustained to the property and to measure any time element (business income and extra expense) losses that may have occurred. The value of inventory damaged or destroyed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the insurance policy is also measured. Whatever damage analysis is needed, RGL Forensics has expert professionals ready to assist with the claims.

An added value RGL Forensics brings clients in catastrophe matters is the technological power and capabilities of the RGL Supernet. RGL Supernet is an internal, Internet-based data management tool that allows RGL Forensics professionals to track the file status for large volumes of losses and data. In certain circumstances, RGL Supernet allows loss adjusters, claims managers, and other claim-related parties to have access to data, view computations, and print customized reports from anywhere in the world. RGL Supernet is custom-designed for each project or case on a secure Internet platform and is ideal for catastrophe scenarios involving large volumes of multi-incident claims and data.

Whatever is on the horizon from mother nature in the coming year, RGL Forensics is ready. Experts in 22 offices around the globe are available at a moment's notice to help quantify damages in claims ranging from business interruption to damaged inventory. As soon as catastrophes arise, RGL Forensics uses worldwide resources to provided a coordinated, rapid, and efficient response.

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Mary E. Furst, CPA/ABV/CFF, CFE, is a Partner and the Director of Catastrophe Services at the international forensic accounting firm, RGL Forensics. She may be reached in RGL’s San Francisco office at 415-593-1302 or mfurst@us.rgl.com. \

Sources
* http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2010/12/17/worldwide-insured-cat-losses-nearly-double-in-2010
** http://www.farmersalmanac.com/weather/2010/08/29/2011-winter-outlook-the-wait-is-over/

 

As appeared in Claims Advisor Magazine, March 2011.

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