Superstorm Sandy — and the widespread power outages and transport problems that followed — affected business operations of numerous companies in the Northeast, including those of insurers and brokers. Companies were turning to their business continuity planning (BCP) to continue to serve customers without interruption this week even as power outages went on.
The American International Group stated that as of Thursday, “AIG offices in lower Manhattan, including our corporate headquarters, are without power and our business continuity plans have enabled us to continue to serve our customers and operate nearly without interruption.”
Most AIG offices in the New York metropolitan area were closed until Friday, Nov. 2, according to AIG’s memo to employees.
Meanwhile, Sandy impacted Willis North America’s operations, forcing 17 offices to close in Virginia, Maryland, Deleware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, according to the brokerage’s spokesperson. As of Friday, Nov. 2, Willis offices in New York and New Jersey remain closed due to power failures, transportation and connectivity issues.
“However, in the wake of the disaster, the Willis spirit remains strong and we are working diligently to restore our affected operations and help employees return to daily life,” according to the company. “Many employees have been displaced or are dealing with extremely difficult conditions, enduring long periods of power outages as well as damage to homes or property. Willis is working to establish a relief fund for those employees who may need assistance recovering from personal losses.”
“We are also very focused on helping clients during this critical time and have mobilized our resources to assist clients with claims and coverage needs,” the company said. “The Willis Catastrophe Response Claims team is in force and we have deployed our dedicated property team and more than 100 complex claim consultants to help manage the post-loss reporting and claims process. Willis is also coordinating with insurance carriers and major property restoration firms to direct available resources to clients.”
New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co. said all three of its offices — the headquarters in West Trenton, Southern New Jersey Branch in Hammonton, and Northern New Jersey Branch in Parsippany — opened with essential staff to handle claims on Tuesday morning. Offices in West Trenton and Parsippany opened under generator power. West Trenton got regular power back on Wednesday; The Parsippany office is still under generator. Since Wednesday, the company has been operating with full, normal staff.
Liberty Mutual said that a few administrative, sales and service offices across its business units remain closed in the immediate aftermath of the storm. “In the event it is necessary, the employees in those offices have the ability to access their work e-mail through the company’s secure webmail or a mobile device,” the company stated.
“Because Liberty Mutual’s system allows it to accommodate 25,000 remote workers at any one time, we were able to seamlessly route incoming calls to offices outside the impacted area, and had trained additional employees on the claims-intake process to facilitate a fast and smooth process for our customers.”