Teamwork: The Key to CAT Response
Published April 9, 2019 - Written by Tim O'Day
As seen in the April edition of Claims Magazine, IAA's Chief Operating Officer, Tim O'Day, highlights some of the teams that make up IAA's Catastrophe response.
WHEN IT COMES TO CATASTROPHES, “all hands on deck” is not just a saying, it is how IAA models its approach before, during and after a major weather event. No storm can ever be taken lightly, and the IAA team is prepared year-round to respond to natural disasters, and is always ready for the worst.
Consider Hurricane Lane preparation in 2018. Always prepared for the worst – the IAA team coordinated everything from over 4,200 miles away. Because the storm was so unpredictable, IAA planned recovery efforts in Maui and the Big Island, in addition to Oahu. Enough staff, trucks, land and equipment were all secured to handle a major event no matter where Lane made landfall. Luckily this storm’s impact was minimal – but IAA was ready!
When a catastrophe strikes, it is a full company-wide effort. Led by our dedicated CAT Team, every department is crucial to catastrophe response from before a storm hits until the last vehicle is sold.
CAT Team & Operations
Our CAT Response Team – part of our Operations Department – leads the charge even before an event occurs. They are the true workhorse behind CAT response.
The team begins engaging other Ops Team members the moment IAA becomes aware of an impending CAT event. They plan where and how staff will deploy and coordinate logistics from start to finish. Appropriate equipment and staff support are allocated based on needs and projections. The branches also have to respond and adapt when catastrophes strike, and tow trucks need to be on standby to pick up vehicles as soon as it is safe – all of this is led by Ops Team members.
The IAA Real Estate Team is crucial to our CAT planning and response. All year, they scout CAT prone areas and enter into negotiations in order to secure additional land in case of catastrophes. Once an impending storm is predicted, the team determines the potential risk and jumps into action working around the clock to provide adequate space for the potential volume in the area.
For example, in anticipation of Hurricane Florence, a category 4 storm that battered the Carolinas, the team was prepared with nearly 1,100 acres in the region.
Human Resources & Volunteers
IAA’s best-in-class CAT response wouldn’t exist without the volunteers who put their lives on hold to help when it is needed most. Volunteers are crucial to the overall preparation and success during catastrophes. Every volunteer brings IAA knowledge, experience and spirit to the recovery efforts.
The IAA Human Resources Team helps to quickly recruit IAA volunteers to assist in the recovery efforts. Team members’ flights, hotel arrangements and transportation all need to be booked and managed accordingly, as there are constant changes in accommodation needs — not to mention an obvious lack of choices during catastrophic situations. It is imperative that the staff that travels to assist have backup support for their current roles and responsibilities, so this needs to be addressed as well. Human Resources handles all of this with expertise and focus, making sure there is no gap in the service that IAA provides to customers and to internal staff.
While many departments handle the on-site execution during a CAT, the Marketing Team coordinates communication externally and internally among some of IAA’s major stakeholders.
The Marketing Team coordinates company-wide communications and offers updates on recovery efforts. They are also responsible for maintaining an open channel with insurance providers, keeping them informed of the work IAA is performing and the status of recovery efforts. Once vehicles begin to arrive and get set for auction, the Marketing Team promotes those vehicles to our global buyer base with targeted marketing and special CAT-specific auctions. They also work closely with the Sales and Account Management Teams to assure that our providers are able to give direct feedback on the CAT process, and that improvements are implemented moving forward.
CAT Approach Success
IAA thrives on a culture of teamwork. The importance of this is never as obvious as during a catastrophe. Our employees in every department are not just dedicated to their job, but also passionate about helping others in a time of need. Collaboration, preparation and continuous improvement will always be the anchors to IAA’s CAT response, and this approach is proving to be successful!
Learn more about IAA’s catastrophe response.
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