Providing Disaster Relief When You Need Us Most
Farmers Insurance has a long and proud history of taking care of our customers and the communities where we live and work. Following disasters, the Farmers claims team is often on the scene within days or even hours, providing aid and helping to quickly and fairly settle our customers' claims. Often, our employees volunteer their time to serve food to victims and even hand out teddy bears to children affected by these terrible disasters.
Long-Term Disaster Recovery
Our dedication to our customers and our communities was no different following the EF-5 tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo., in 2011. Farmers claims team was first on the scene, and we settled close to 100% of our claims within 90 days. After three months though, our claims adjusters and volunteers returned to their homes and daily lives, along with other insurance carriers.
However, we knew the job was far from done. We soon partnered with the St. Bernard Project to begin the recovery work of the hundreds of families who were uninsured, underinsured, faced unscrupulous contractors, or were forced to pay down mortgages before rebuilding. In 2013 and 2014, we sent 400 employees to Joplin, donating close to 20,000 hours to help the community rebuild 180 homes.
In 2014 we sent additional volunteers to the Jersey shore, helping rebuild homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy. That works continues in 2016, and by year end, we anticipate more than 800 volunteers, donating more than 20,000 hours over the course of 36 months.
In 2016 we added the community of San Marcos, TX, were floods devastated the community. Farmers has a large office in Austin, and the local employees are excited to help out their neighbors.
Disaster Recovery Playbook
Farmers also partnered with the St. Bernard Project in finding a way to share their model of long-term disaster recovery. The Playbook is a guide based on the best practices developed in New Orleans, Joplin and New York/New Jersey following Superstorm Sandy.
The purpose of the Playbook is to provide disaster-impacted communities the tools to recover promptly, give residents clear action steps, and offer disaster recovery organizations a standardized and adaptable model for post-disaster recovery.
The Disaster Recovery Playbook enables future recoveries to stand on the shoulders of past lessons, dramatically reducing recovery time and offering insight into the best practices every community should know about, including:
- Establishing and communicating a recovery plan in the first seven days resulting in faster access to resources and funding.
- Understanding community leadership's role in recovery and recognizing that those coming in to help are in for the short-term vs. the long-term.
- Running a recovery as if it were a business --- establishing clear goals, clear accountability and clear language.
By using the model and process outlined in the Playbook, Joplin was years ahead of original outside estimates for its time to recovery. Immediately after the May 2011 tornadoes, estimates from respected organizations like FEMA called for a recovery of up to seven years. By using the Playbook's model though, a philosophy originally brought to life in New Orleans by the St. Bernard Project and perfected in Joplin with the creation of Rebuild Joplin, the homeowners originally displaced by the tornadoes were back in their homes by the end of 2014, nearly three and a half years ahead of schedule.
American Red Cross
Farmers is a national partner with the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). As an ADGP member, Farmers Insurance has pledged donations on an ongoing basis in advance of major disasters to help the Red Cross ensure an immediate response to meet the needs of those affected by disasters. According to Don Herring, Red Cross chief development officer, support of the program helps create a reliable funding base for disaster relief services, providing food, shelter, emotional support and other essential assistance.
In addition, agents and employees in numerous locations across the country have helped install smoke alarms in vulnerable cities, educating homeowners about fire preparedness and what to do if a fire happen in their home.
Many Farmers offices also host blood drives, encouraging employees, agents and the public to donate life giving blood. Over the years, the results are thousands of pints of blood collected, saving hundreds of lives.