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In the event of a pending CATASTROPHE, what is your plan?

Cyclone Debbie hit town with a punch on 28 March 2017, making landfall near Airlie Beach in Queensland Australia.


Debbie’s pending arrival was well publicized, with 24/7 coverage on weather news channels and the main stream media. The Insurance Industry was standing ready with their sleeves pulled up ready to assist policy holders and get claim payments rolling as quickly as possible.

So how did the insurance claims team at Proclaim prepare for Debbie’s arrival and pending punch?

The Catastrophe Management team, which comprises our Insurance, Property Claims and Operations Managers, met to activate the CAT plan. The CAT plan is designed to protect the interests of policy holders and clients by ensuring the best possible response and identifying potential exposures as soon as possible.



The CAT team identified likely claim numbers and ensured our claim managers were ready to hit the ground running on new claims and were not overloaded with existing claims.

The team coordinated the availability of loss adjusters, builders and other experts – with efforts made to prioritise urgent make-safe repairs.

All claim managers were placed on call where required and we rationalized and increased resources in our support teams.

The team identified capacity within existing resources at Proclaim and determined whether we could manage expected claim volumes within existing staff levels. We considered diverting staff to temporarily assist the CAT team, and considered hiring temporary external staff to assist.

In the event of a CAT loss our systems are built to make quick partial or advance payments and apply temporary changes needed to Service Level Agreements and authority levels to ensure we provide the service required to meet our objectives.

Members of the CAT team were ready to conduct site visits where feasible.



At outset of the CAT we identified the value of claims at which entitlement to a partial payment ought to be immediately recommended in accordance with the Insurance Code of Practice.

Every effort was made to recognise as early as possible where a partial payment could be made and make that payment within 48 hours of agreement with the Insured or broker.

We did not wait for the Broker to request a payment where it is clear that a partial or advance payment should be made.



In circumstances where a policy holder would find that an advance payment of 25% would still create a situation of hardship for the individual, consideration was given to a larger advance payment. In the event of a total loss a 33% to 50% advance payment was contemplated where there is clearly a hardship situation.


The importance of Insurance and of a best practice claims management model is highlighted in the event of a Catastrophe like Debbie.


Written by Justin Harty


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