This holiday season, as you’re surrounded by the love and warmth of family and friends it’s a good reminder of what you hold dear – even if you end up in a healthy debate over which football team will make it to the Super Bowl this year.
As you gather around the tables and couches of your loved one’s homes or cozy up in your favorite nook of your home, you’ll build memories for years to come. And, that’s half the fun of the holidays, right? Knowing that your home and your loved ones are in the midst of a special moment is a rare and special opportunity.
For me, the holidays also brings the emotional value of my home front and center.
Sadly, this past year was a disastrous year for many homeowners. Thousands of homeowners across the country lost their homes in the most destructive wildfire season California has ever seen and the costliest hurricane season on record for the state of Texas.
This holiday season I’ve been thinking about how we, at Hippo, and the home insurance industry can lend a more empathetic ear and a bigger helping hand to customers. How can we provide additional support to homeowners in their time of peril and beyond? Because, in essence, this is why my co-founder Eyal and I got into this industry.
When Hurricane Maria rolled through the Caribbean this summer and Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, we mobilized to help. We set up a nonprofit project aimed at collecting clothing donations from companies to distribute to storm victims, donateswag.org.
Through this effort, we shipped thousands of t-shirts, sweatshirts, and socks to Texas and partnered with Houston-based charity Emergency Aid Coalition (EAC) for distribution. I encourage you to continue to donate to relief efforts supporting storm and fire torn regions, as we continue our donations to the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity throughout 2018.
As insurance providers, we understand how important it is to extend a helping hand when things go awry. Past partnering with some of the biggest reinsurers in the world, to ensure our clients always have the financial protection they need and deserve, we redefined how the claims process works so customer’s immediate needs are always put first.
Although proactive prevention is the best way to avoid claims, when accidents or issues become inevitable — like the natural disasters that struck the U.S. this year — we jump right in to provide the support and personal attention our customers need to receive in order to get back on their feet. If a family gets evacuated from their home, we address their personal necessities first so they can focus on getting their lives back together.
For example, when we first heard about the Northern and Southern California wildfires that ignited this year, we mapped out the affected areas and contacted our customers. Once we had a client on the phone, we verified that they were safe, offered lodging, sent help when possible and notified loved ones as needed.
When one of our clients needed help finding a place to stay, we put on our concierge hat and found a comfortable hotel for his family to rest in for a week. Of course, our claims team never really take off their concierge hats.
Anytime a claim call comes in we know that the customer is already in a difficult situation, so we try to ease their minds and offer them the best experience possible. Our claims concierges offer all clients their personal cell phone number during their initial outreach for contact 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. All Hippo claims stay with the same concierge throughout the entire process so clients are never left repeating information and looking up claims numbers in the midst of a disaster.
As the California fires died down, we considered our customers next steps – clean up. We contacted restoration crews with a focus to help our customers prep their homes as soon as possible so they could return back to their home when they decide to do so.
But natural disasters were not the primary driver of claims this year, as you can see in our claims breakdown from the past year:
Some claims are avoidable, while others could have been helped with a bit of preparation. Along with using this data to inform and educate our customers, we also tailor our coverage to address homeowners biggest gaps so we’re always there when you need us most. These are some of the things we focus on the ensure we bring you value (up-front and behind the scenes):
- Our sales and claims team members are salaried employees, with commission paid out on their customer satisfaction rating, not the total number of policies sold per day/week/month.
- Our online quoting process takes into account your past claims and house structure up-front, so we can provide you with an accurate quote immediately. You won’t have to deal with the bait and switch of increased pricing after you’ve invested valuable time into your application (a process that’s a solid 30 minutes faster than what our competitors offer).
- A smart home is generally a safer home. Our first gift of claims prevention is the leak detector we send to all of our customers in their welcome package. Smart home devices help detect and prevent damage, and will win you discounts on your insurance premiums in the near future.
- We created policies with four times more coverage on electronics and home office equipment since that ranks among our most valued household items in the US. We reduced the average coverage on pewter bowl sets and silverware because most consumers don’t need it. So why pay for it? We also offer Service Line coverage and Equipment Breakdown coverage in our policies. They’re rare in the industry, but are a major driver of claims. Ultimately, we give you coverage where and when you need it.
Our clients are the reason we’re here and we never forget that. We treat our customers like friends and family members, not just names on an excel grid (and I really HATE the word “policyholders”).
We’re excited to unveil and discover new ways to support our customers in 2018 as we expand our footprint and offer policies in new states. Thanks for coming along for the ride.