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On the horizon
Preserving human connection in a high-tech world
Garth Crow, EVP, Chief Claim Officer; Tracy Stoeckel, SVP, Agribusiness
A collaborative story by Garth Crow and Tracy Stoeckel
Maintaining relationships in a high-tech world
As with any successful partnership, honest, open and timely communication is key to building trust that stands the test of time. While technology has made things faster, nothing beats a personal relationship – the human touch with a quick, decisive response when it comes to protecting our customers.
From natural disasters to fires, floods, burst pipes, and auto accidents, technology helps expedite the claim process. But nothing will ever replace our people, connecting directly with a policyholder or their family. Our service is our customer’s lifeline in times of crisis.
Garth Crow, FCCI EVP, Chief Claim Officer, says “Auto claims can be expedited with technology. Lower severity claims handling has been greatly enhanced by new technologies. However, when it comes to the injury side of a claim, person-to-person has and continues to be the most effective approach. Technology may help us do things faster, but it can’t effectively pick up the phone and talk to a injured person or their family and understand the impact on their life.”
“Claims is still a very personal business,” Crow continues, and believes technology doesn’t replace FCCI’s service, it enhances it. “Our increased use of drones to survey property damage, particularly in hard-to-reach areas after a catastrophe, accelerates our ability to serve clients when they need us most. The sooner we get ‘boots on the ground’ to make that critical in-person connection, the better.”
What’s more, every claim has one outcome in mind, to let the policyholder/claimant know that the moment things go awry, FCCI is there to assist them and help them get their lives back on track. Each claimant is unique which makes each claim unique.
This is why, for example, FCCI works with Shepherd Center, a brain and spinal cord injury center in Atlanta, Georgia. FCCI’s medical management team chose Shepherd for its team of highly specialized, experienced clinicians dedicated to compassionate care.
“Our goal for every claim journey,” says Crow, “is to provide quality and compassionate care to the injured worker, increasing their chances for the best outcome. Our Medical Case Managers (MCMs) work closely with medical providers, the injured worker as well as their family, again with the best outcome in mind. Better medical outcomes benefit everyone.”
Growing our Agribusiness
FCCI continues to add top talent to the Agribusiness (Ag) team. In addition to the promotion of Josh Newell to Ag Underwriting Director, three new supervisors were brought on board, along with four associate underwriters and several new teammates in our Risk Control and UW technician teams.
In 2021, Ag reported record-high premiums and posted their third straight year of profitable results. Tracy Stoeckel, FCCI SVP, Agribusiness, attributes that to her team. “When a claim occurs, there is continuous communication and collaboration between underwriting and claims from inception to resolution. We believe in cultivating collaborative talent,” Stoeckel explains, “and growing opportunities for future underwriters is key if we are to educate and promote from within. This is strategic planning at its finest.”
In 2021, Ag debuted the third in a series of five posters. Stoeckel says items like these help to maintain connections with agency partners.
Planting the seeds for future success
“Ag is a specialty market,” Stoeckel shares, “and FCCI wanted to work with a select group of agencies who know and understand this business segment.
It’s important to partner with experts, especially when timing is critical. When a storm hits and full grain bins and silos get knocked out, you must move fast.”
“Technology is good, but knowledge of Ag is key,” says Stoeckel. “We sell claim service, and when a loss happens, our policyholders need to get back to business – quickly.”
Another key aspect of growing the Ag business is compassionately caring for all Ag workers, including migrant workers. Since the Ag industry is reliant on migrant labor (H2A migrant workers), FCCI covers them for workers’ compensation, transportation and housing.
Stoeckel notes, “Like every aspect of FCCI’s service, our people fulfill the promise. More than a policy, a promise isn’t just a tagline for us, it’s who and what we are.”
As we forge ahead in today’s digitally interconnected world, we’ll never lose our sense of humanity and compassion. Our passion and our purpose remain unwavering: to be a partner and a resource to our customers, especially in times of dire need, when they are at their most vulnerable.
Good business starts with good people. Being empathetic when it would be easier to be standoffish. Be face-to-face whenever possible and write checks – fast – when customers need it most. At the end of the day, FCCI means offering more than service, it means being there, through every part of the claim, when we’re needed most.