FEMA Stretched Thin at Start of Hurricane Season
Reservists at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) account for about half
of the agency's disaster-response personnel. They are dispatched as needed to help
recovery efforts following natural disasters. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, however,
about 500 reservists ignored FEMA's deployment request, according to FEMA officials.
Reservists are allowed to turn down up to three assignments each year, meaning FEMA
cannot count on a full reserve force during peak periods. With the 2018 hurricane
season already underway, FEMA is scrambling to hire more people who are willing to
depart at a moment's notice for assignments that can last months at a time.
Internal documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request
the agency's disaster-response force is understaffed by
26 percent. Staffing shortages often compel FEMA to shift personnel from one
disaster to the next and, in some cases, rely on workers who do not know how to do
the job effectively, according to interviews with 15 current and former FEMA workers.
Some local officials say the agency's mission of bringing federal aid where it is
needed is hampered by its constant turnover.
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IDR Survey: Agent Use of Digital Advances
Independent insurance agents have made important advances in awareness and
use of digital technologies in the last two years, according to the Insurance
Digital Revolution's (IDR)
Insurance Digital Transformation Survey
Today, the majority of agents, 95 percent, say that digital technologies are
important or very important to their success, a substantial increase from the
58 percent who responded similarly in 2016.
"Insurance is a complex product and the majority of customers want a relationship
with their insurance professional, helping them through the process and handling
their unique needs," said Mike Becker, CEO of PIA National. "This is where
independent agents still hold the advantage over other options, like insurtechs
and direct writers. But agents can't stand still. They need to embrace digital
tools that will enhance that relationship."
"The results of the survey are encouraging. But there is still work to be
done," Becker said.
Additional findings include:
PIA is a founding member of IDR
want more carrier support including commercial lines
download, e-signature and better customer-facing solutions
- 95% say that digital technologies are important or very important
- In the past two years, the percentage of agents utilizing e-signature,
quoting on web sites, customer facing portals has increased
- Only four percent of agents said carriers' customer facing technology
- Only 37% of agencies have a written security plan or hold cybersecurity
training. Despite the lack of protection 55% rate their cybersecurity protection
as good or excellent.
, together with Associations & User Groups
Information Exchange (AUGIE) and Agents Council for Technology (ACT). IDR is an
industry advocacy and communications initiative to accelerate adoption of digital
technologies that enable independent insurance agents to improve customer
satisfaction, grow business, and increase profitability.