Safeco has launched a special disaster-relief effort to deliver financial assistance, equipment and free support services to help independent insurance distributors recover from Hurricane Katrina.
This relief effort — which is above and beyond the support Safeco’s National Catastrophe Team already is providing to distributors and customers — includes three important elements:
Financial support for distributors: Safeco is donating $25,000 to the Big “I” Katrina Relief Fund established by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association to aid independent distributors and their employees in storm-ravaged areas.
Equipment to get agencies up and running: Where communication systems are down and basic living supplies are scarce, Safeco has deployed disaster-recovery teams to provide distribution partners with satellite-enabled phones and laptops, generators, fuel, water and other supplies. For insurance agencies that sustained hurricane damage and have no access to phone or computer systems, Safeco also has designated service professionals to support personal and small-business policyholders until agency systems are restored and normal operations can resume.
Funding for hard-hit communities: Last week, Safeco made a corporate donation to the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund and announced it would match all employee donations to that organization on a 2-for-1 basis through Sept. 15. Last January, Safeco and its employees contributed more than $325,000 to the South Asia tsunami-relief effort. The company’s contributions to the Red Cross to support victims of Hurricane Katrina could top that amount.
“Our distribution partners on the Gulf Coast are facing multiple challenges,” said Jeff Roe, Safeco president of Distribution, Sales and Marketing. “Their own lives – as well as those of friends and family members – have been turned upside down. Their homes, neighborhoods and businesses have been damaged. And now they are facing one of the most challenging customer response-and-recovery efforts on record.
“We are marshalling special support wherever we can to help our distribution partners, our customers and their local communities through this extraordinarily trying time,” said Roe.
Safeco’s National Catastrophe Team members were deployed immediately after the hurricane to assist customers in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama. Relief payments and property inspections are already under way — even in many of the hardest-hit areas such as Biloxi, Gulfport and Hattiesburg, Miss.
More information for Safeco customers is available online at www.safeco.com/catastrophe/.
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