The Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) of Louisiana announced it is assisting agents, carriers and policyholders in Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
One of the biggest challenges right now is communications. Displaced agents want to provide information to their policyholders, however, many are in the midst of scrambling just to find a place to stay, set up a temporary office as well as take care of their family. Carriers that were located in the New Orleans areas are displaced as well and have been setting up alternate contact information. And, policyholders, who oftentimes don’t even know who their insurance company is, are trying to reach agents to find out the necessary information they need to make claims.
Through its Web site at www.piaoflouisiana.com, PIA of Louisiana is attempting to be a central location that all of these parties can communicate. Due to the overload of the phone systems, often e-mail is the best form of communication. PIA has already had several policyholders contact its office directly looking for their agents, and because of the system put in place they have been successful in getting the necessary information to them.
PIA of Louisiana immediately set up a Hurricane Katrina Relief Forum, which allowed members and non-members to learn about the welfare and safety of others. It has proven to be a great method of communicating for the industry. Carriers have posted special messages for their agents and PIA has been able to keep members informed of general information, such as school meeting notices and office space and housing opportunities.
PIA also made an arrangement with the Onebane Law Firm, out of Lafayette, to set up a Legal Questions Forum that will allow agents to have their generic legal questions answered. The Forum also has the same feature for technology issues and the ability to set up other sections like this as needs arise.
On PIA’s Web site, agents and carriers can update their own information by going to their respective pages on the Web site and completing the forms available to them. This information is then transferred to the proper place on the Web site for optimal use. For example, if an agent completes his/her form, the data is then transferred to the policyholders section of the Web site so consumers can easily locate their agents and/or have the necessary directions provided by their agent for filing claims.
PIA’s Web site also provides a place to learn about available housing, office space and job opportunities for displaced agencies and their employees. For those people in unaffected areas of Louisiana and around the nation who are offering assistance, the Web site has a place to maintain this information as well.
There is also a link to PIA National’s Web site, www.pianet.com, which provides additional national information and assistance. And on the front page of the Web site, agents can find important links to assist them during this time, such as claims toll-free numbers, accord forms, alternate routes and road closures, etc. Anything that agents are asking for in this time of need, PIA is posting information to share with other agents on its Web site.
PIA of Louisiana realizes that this is a very difficult time for so many people. If someone can just get through to another person who can help answer their questions, then that person’s mind is greatly put at ease. This objective is the main mission of The PIA of Louisiana’s Hurricane Relief Center. It’s helping people reach people in the insurance industry affected by and associated with Hurricane Katrina.
For more information contact:
Jody Boudreaux, Executive Vice President
800-349-3434 or 225-766-7770;
Caroline Adams, Director of Marketing
Natalie S. Cooper, Director of Industry Affairs
Peggy Grace, Director of Education
Danielle LaBorde, Member Services Coordinator
Peggy Murillo, Office Administrator
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