Communication was key after tornadoes: Brokers

The tornadoes that swept through Vaughan and Durham Region in late August have affected every broker differently, but all agree that effective client communication is essential to successfully managing the aftermath of such a sudden and destructive event.

Dario Battista, president of Vaughan-based and Belpac Capri Insurance Brokers, says his brokerage followed pre-established guidelines when the storm hit.

"We have a process put in place to deal with this type of thing,” says Battista. “Whenever these types of large disasters happen, we try to be proactive."

In this case that meant identifying clients with risks located in the affected areas and phoning them the morning after the storm to see if any damage has been done.

Additionally, Battista’s staff contacted insurers to see if any of their clients had filed claims.

In the end, Battista feels his brokerage got off lightly. "Only two clients had claims and they are both proceeding,” says Battista.

Durham-based Secure Insurance Solutions Group Inc. was not as lucky, with brokerage president and CEO Dennis Graham saying that more than 70 claims were reported.

Like Battista, Graham emphasized the important of reaching out to customers, noting that he and his staff gathered in his brokerage and started contacting policyholders soon after the storm passed. “[People] and businesses really aren’t prepared for something like this,” Graham says.

For many, the best way to resolve the uncertainty was to contact their local broker. Mark Cacciotti, a broker at Vaughan’s Vision Insurance, says that while his brokerage did not experience any claims, it did field a few calls from concerned policyholders anxious to get more information about their coverage.

“A couple of clients called in asking ‘are we covered for tornados? Windstorm? Flood?’” says Cacciotti. Beyond those inquiries, Cacciotti says that things have been fairly “status quo.”

While still dealing with the aftermath of the tornado, Graham was already looking to the future, remarking that brokers may want to stress tornado preparedness to their policyholders.

“It’s a great opportunity to educate clients,” says Graham. “Most people really don’t know what to do.”

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