Assurant looking to hire 100 in wake of hurricane damage in Houston

Assurant will hire about 100 new workers as it tries to help policy holders in Texas process claims and get back into their homes after Hurricane Harvey ripped through the Gulf Coast damaging thousands of homes.

The company’s Global Housing Division, based in Springfield, provides insurance and related services in partnership with financial institutions and other major clients. It has more than 1,900 workers, but will hire about 100 more full, part-time and temporary employees, said Ray Rafferty, vice president of operations center manager in Springfield.

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The company is also sending a team of workers from locations across the U.S. to Texas to help policyholders with processing payments related to repairing damaged homes.

“There’s a little bit of a lag between when these storms hit and when those claims start to come our way to process,” Rafferty said. “So we are ramping up now for those main areas, both customer service and processing.”

Information from the Texas Department of Insurance shows of the more than 2.8 million residential policies in the affected area, only roughly 20 percent have flood insurance. Assurant has had claims staff staged near the hardest hit areas since the beginning of the week, said David Blumenthal, a spokesman for the company.

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“They’re claims adjusters and obviously the first step there is emergency need,” Raffery said. “It”s people who need funds immediately to be able to find a place to stay or secure their home with any initial repairs so they can get stabilized.”

The company faced a similar situation several years ago when Hurricane Sandy hammered the East Coast, but Rafferty said it’s too early to compare the severity of the two storms.

After providing emergency funds, the company will also send teams to help clients answer questions and try to speed the recovery process as longer-term repairs begin. The additional positions in Springfield will help work with those customers and process the rising number of claims expected.

RELATED: Assurant sees net operating income fall 30 percent last year

The Assurant Foundation, the company’s charitable arm, announced last week it will provide a $100,000 contribution to the American Red Cross for its Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The foundation also will provide a 2-for-1 match for all Assurant employee contributions made to the American Red Cross through September.

The company has about 1,900 employees and processes similar claims year round for smaller storms and other damage, Rafferty said.

“But when we have a catastrophic event like this we do have to ramp up significantly because those folks are going to be calling us to find out how the process works and to have their claim checks move forward so they can repair their homes.”

The company is mostly looking for customer care and processing specialists.

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