Natural disasters are a real shock for those involved, so it is crucial that support for insurance policyholders also takes on board this human dimension. With this in mind, Natixis Assurances has rolled out a program to closely support customers in the Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne banking networks during these emergency situations. Insurance inspectors quicky visit the site of the disaster to help the victims and facilitate the insurance payout process. We accompanied one of these inspectors to the site of an earthquake – Le Teil – in November 2019.
Report in le Teil, in the Ardèche area of France: a year and a half after an earthquake shook the village
Let’s hear from Frédéric Senescal, claims manager and insurance inspector
Who are you?
My name is Frédéric Senescal and I am a technical claims manager for home insurance at Natixis Assurances, which offers insurance solutions for customers in the Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne banking networks. I am also an insurance inspector, so I visit our policyholders to provide support when they suffer an event and have to file a claim. I work in a team of three inspectors and when necessary, we also call in correspondents to help us in the field. We liaise with our policyholders when they make a claim, distributors (in my case, Caisse d’Epargne), our assessors and the claims departments. We act as the presence on the ground for managers as we coordinate with claims assessors and provide the human connection between compensation grids and policy conditions on the one hand and the very real situation of our clients who have been affected by the disaster on the other hand.
How are your assignments organized?
We really work as a team – the statistics division monitors the weather and warns all our policyholders of potential threats by text message to make sure they can get to safety. If the event takes place, a free-phone number is set up and we make sure that the resources required are in place – for example managers will focus on taking incoming calls. Depending on the number of claims, I go to the scene of the event to support our policyholders and also accompany our distributors, who receive a high number of requests when natural disasters occur. This is what makes our strength as a bancassurer: our distributors have built up strong relationships with their clients and have a good overview of their needs – sometimes they have also financed the home that is now the scene of the disaster. I’m based in Mérignac and sometimes have to travel to different locations by helicopter and finish by foot to get to areas cut off from the world, such as Tarbes in 2019 and Saint Martin de Vesubie in the fall of 2020.
How do you feel about your job?
I come from a family of doctors, so we are all passionate about helping others and being useful. It’s not always easy to watch other people’s suffering, sometimes it feels like being in a warzone, with the army on hand. But it’s wonderful to be involved in this outpouring of support and be part of this trusted relationship with our policyholders to bring them support. I often have to make decisions on behalf of the company to get things moving and go beyond policy clauses. During storm Alex for example, we covered extra nights of hotels and supported policyholders with alternative accommodation. I enjoy being able to support our clients and make sure they receive the best help. My first assignment was during cyclone Xynthia in 2005, and 15 years on, I still love my job and am determined to give our policyholders the best possible service!