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Delivering Comfort

in the wake of a weather catastrophe
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FCCI teammates demonstrate concern and compassion for customers affected by Hurricane Ian.
All successful businesses operate to generate revenue and profit. It’s the engine that makes our economy grow and prosper. The insurance industry and FCCI are no different. But beyond the financial statements, balance sheets and operations is another critical component for success — personal engagement.
FCCI teammates take unselfish action
This quality was on full display in Southwest Florida immediately following Hurricane Ian. Lauren Sellitti has been a Senior Business Development Specialist with FCCI for 11 years. Her territory covers Manatee County down to Collier County, placing her clients directly in the path of Hurricane Ian. On Thursday morning, September 29, immediately after the storm, Lauren began contacting her agents. She also called her manager, Director of Business Development Chris Kaczmarek, for permission to purchase food and supplies for several affected agency partners. His answer was a resounding yes! Lauren remarked, “I wanted to ensure everybody was safe and let them know FCCI was here if they needed anything. I kept calling until I could confirm everybody was safe. As power was gradually restored, agencies reopened and the staff was back in their offices taking calls from policyholders.
Mindy Felicien is FCCI’s Manager of Risk Control for Florida. Mindy consults with policyholders to help businesses reduce risk exposure and minimize claims. Over her six years at FCCI, Mindy has nurtured relationships with agents to deliver good results when bad things happen. On Tuesday, October 4, less than a week after the storm, Lauren and Mindy set out to provide much-needed food and supplies. They delivered items to four agencies and a policyholder overwhelmed with work. “They were taking and processing claims at a rate never seen before. We wanted to see them in person to let them know FCCI cares,” said Mindy.
Dynamic Insurance, Punta Gorda
Started by Dave Ivankovic and his wife, Toni, in 2003, Dynamic Insurance in Punta Gorda became an FCCI-appointed agency in 2004. They are also an FCCI policyholder. “We took precautions with our staff to avoid the office. We watched the forecast on TV and when The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore reported live from Punta Gorda, we knew trouble was brewing,” said Dave.
Dave and Toni returned to the office to find a 50-foot oak tree on their roof and no power. Dave contacted Lauren to see if FCCI could help. The next day FCCI Claim Specialist Matt Raab delivered a generator and tarp to provide electricity and some normalcy to the agency. Matt also arranged to remove the fallen tree from the roof. The staff returned to work and continued talking to policyholders and submitting claims. Lauren and Mindy’s first delivery was to Dynamic Insurance, providing the team with food, water and supplies. “The employees were glad to see us, and gave them a morale boost,” said Lauren.
Dave remarked, “We’ve been fortunate to have excellent FCCI underwriters and business development specialists. One of those stars is Lauren. She understands the agency side and adds value to our relationship. Lauren and Mindy represent FCCI very well,” said Dave. The first month after the hurricane was physically and mentally exhausting. “Thanks to FCCI, my staff didn’t hear any complaints from FCCI policyholders about their claims. Everyone from FCCI was responsive, efficient, helpful and empathetic. The entire experience was far better than with other carriers,” said Dave.
Lashley’s Crab House, Punta Gorda
The next stop was Lashley’s Crab House, owned by Smuggler’s Enterprises in Punta Gorda. Smuggler’s is a client of Dynamic Insurance and an FCCI policyholder. As their risk control consultant, Mindy wanted to visit the waterfront restaurant to see the damage. Smuggler’s Vice President Kelly Evans said that an FCCI claims adjuster had already been there to assess the damage and start the recovery process.
“Kelly asked me to take additional photos of the damage for the adjuster. We also discussed what would be included in the claim. Our visit was productive and gave everyone peace of mind knowing that FCCI was working the case,” said Mindy. Along the way to their next stop, Lauren and Mindy contacted other policyholders to ensure they were safe and offer assistance.
AWA Insurance, Fort Myers
AWA Insurance of Fort Myers is a second-generation family business founded in the 1980s. President Jeff Williams credits FCCI as a big part of his agency’s success since teaming up in the 1990s. Jeff has been through plenty of storms but nothing of this magnitude. “Suddenly, it seems like every customer has a claim. Several carriers were supportive, but FCCI stood above them all,” said Jeff. While the AWA staff was busy taking claims, Lauren, Mindy and Rob Lenihan, now an FCCI trio, brought food and supplies. “They graciously cared for my staff and kept the office morale high.”
Rob is an FCCI Senior Risk Control Consultant whose territory covers Charlotte County to Collier County. In his five years with FCCI, the damage he witnessed from Hurricane Ian was eye-opening. Rob spent the days and week after Ian in the field, assessing damage and helping agents and policyholders in any way possible. “Infrastructure was down and chaotic, but risk control met with FCCI policyholders. They were glad to see us and surprised that we got to them so quickly,” said Rob.
Another agency partner and FCCI Chairman’s Club Member, Mike Rodgers from Associates Insurance in Tampa, went above and beyond to help AWA. Mike graciously opened his home and office for several AWA employees to work from Tampa until AWA resumed operations. Mike also delivered a generator and 500 gallons of fuel for AWA employees.
Yet another FCCI policyholder, Guys Hauling in Sarasota, brought 150 gallons of diesel fuel and 150 gallons of gasoline to AWA. “We filled up our cars at the office without having to wait in long gas lines. Once we got back on our feet, we filled the gas cans and donated them to one of my customers in Captiva. That's people helping people,” said Jeff.
Jeff received hundreds of claims, mostly from flooding and wind damage. During the cleanup, cars and trucks were towed to open fields that became auto graveyards. A big part of the agent’s job is to guide the policyholder through the claim process. It’s common for policyholders to get frustrated and impatient. “The fact that we didn’t have problems with FCCI policyholders is a testament to their claim department,” said Jeff. He was grateful for the help he received from FCCI and others to get his business back up and running quickly.
The fact that we didn't have problems with FCCI policyholders is a testament to their claim department. Jeff Williams, President, AWA Insurance
Five County Insurance, Fort Myers
The FCCI trio made their next stop to Five County Insurance in Fort Myers. The agency started in 1982 and is run by brothers Mike and Steve Dannenhauer. Mike is the agency’s President and is proud to call FCCI part of the Five County family. “FCCI is a carrier you can count on to care for their agents and policyholders. We think of them as an extension of our team,” said Mike.
That was never more evident than in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Mike met with FCCI’s inspector when the storm subsided to assess their building damage. “The adjuster was remarkable, and the entire claims process was smooth,” said Mike. Rob Lenihan also worked closely with Mike on his claim. “Rob is the best loss control professional in the business. Thankfully, we have the proper policies and procedures in place because of Rob.”
Catastrophes often bring out the best in people. FCCI’s Lauren, Mindy and Rob delivered food and comfort to Five County’s office staff so they could continue processing customer claims. “FCCI was a savior,” said Mike. Another example of how the best of humanity emerged during this crisis was when FCCI policyholder Merrick Seafood in Cape Coral lost power to its refrigerators. Rather than feeling victimized and throwing out the food, the owner selflessly cooked the inventory and fed local first responders. “It truly is a community of togetherness,” said Mike.
Technology will always be continuous because things are changing so quickly . Dave Patel, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Brown & Brown Insurance, Fort Myers
The productive October day continued as Lauren and Mindy visited Brown & Brown Insurance in Fort Myers. They talked to account managers who appreciated the food FCCI provided. “They have a mess at home while working crazy hours, so it’s imperative that we're there for our customers when a catastrophe strikes,” said Lauren.
Delivering on our promise to policyholders
Within a week of the hurricane and for the next month, Rob and Mindy personally delivered claim checks to policyholders. FCCI received a fantastic response from businesses who couldn’t believe how fast their claims were settled. “We paid and closed claims before other carriers even arrived. FCCI did it better than everybody else,” said Mindy.
As a lifelong Floridian, Rob advises everyone never to assume the storm will not hit their area. Secure your property and evacuate if necessary. “Everybody went to sleep the night before, thinking the hurricane was hitting Tampa. If you didn’t prepare, it was too late. Preparation is paramount,” said Rob.
While FCCI is proud to highlight Lauren, Mindy, Rob and Matt’s efforts, they were only a few of FCCI’s boots-on-the-ground meeting with affected agencies and policyholders to assess the damage, triage claims and follow through with guidance. They were among hundreds of FCCI teammates who exceeded expectations and delivered on their promise to help agencies and policyholders when they needed it most — before, during and after Hurricane Ian.