At the start of January, the majority of Crawford’s U.K. commercial and personal lines claims work was in Scotland’s Islands and Highlands as a result of the stormy weather. Here we report on the lengths our adjusters go to help customers residing in often the most remote areas.
While most of the U.K. experienced some form of unpleasant weather in January, the north of the country was hit hardest. Scotland’s western mainland and islands were caught in stormy weather that comprised severe winds, heavy snowfall, torrential rainfall and even lightning strikes. As a result, hundreds of customers were left without electricity and in some cases with serious structural damage to their homes.
Immediately following the first storm, Crawford’s adjusting teams mobilized for the exceptional challenge of reaching some of the most remote locations in the U.K. “Our heat map shows the major areas of activity in Scotland and you can see clearly the kinds of distances that we faced in January reaching customers,” says Paul Bowyer, General Property Director.
“The storm struck hardest in these rural and island locations which are tricky to reach at the best of times,” Paul adds. “To make matters worse, the weather conditions resulted in significant disruption, including road closures due to fallen trees, and the cancellation of rail and ferry services. Tay Road and Rail bridges, the Erskine Bridge out of Glasgow, the Skye Bridge and Keswick Bridge were all closed, while cancellation of rail and ferry services throughout the Highlands and Western Isles made the already hard to reach areas almost impossible to get to. In addition, the customers in need of urgent help were located miles apart so travel arrangements became a major part of our planning.”
While deciding on travel arrangements, the adjusting team ensured pre-visit advice was given to every customer. “We needed to ensure policyholders were aware of what they needed to do from the outset and how we could help them,” says Andrew Shaw, Manager, Scotland and North East.
In addition to clocking up miles from one location to another, Crawford’s adjusters also took to the air for the most inaccessible locations, taking 32 flights and six ferry trips to reach locations as far flung as the isles of Skye, Harris and North Uist. “In less than a month, the Crawford team spent the equivalent of 25 full working days visiting policyholders on damaged properties on the Scottish isles alone,” says Andrew.
As of the end February, we have settled 50 percent of storm claims with the remainder approaching completion within the next few weeks.