Mayfield Heights, Ohio - The Progressive Group of Insurance Cos.' national catastrophe response team (NCRT) stands at the ready to handle increased claims volume resulting from weather-related events including hurricanes, tornadoes, hailstorms and floods.The company has opened its first permanent catastrophe response center in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, claiming it is even better positioned to deliver 24/7 claims service when people need fast, accurate claims resolution most.

Progressive's NCRT is made up of an "inside" operations team and an "outside" field response team--both consisting of full-time claims representatives from throughout the United States who either serve in this capacity on a regular basis or have signed up for "CAT duty."

Based on the forecasted number and types of claims resulting from a particular weather-related event, the appropriate number of reps are deployed to a storm-stricken area or to the new CAT response center. The response center can accommodate up to 400 claims reps.

The inside team, which historically has been set up in temporary offices in or near storm-stricken areas, calls customers, verifies coverages and schedules appointments; these tasks will now be handled from the response center.

The outside team is made up of field claims reps who are deployed to CAT-stricken areas to inspect damage and write estimates in order to settle customers' claims fairly, quickly and accurately. All team members handle CAT claims for Progressive Direct and Drive Insurance from Progressive customers.

Scott Snapp, Progressive's national catastrophe response director, says: "The storm seasons of 2004 and 2005 resulted in an unprecedented number of CAT events and more CAT claims for Progressive customers than ever before. The frequency and severity of the storm seasons demand that we put into place the most efficient system possible. Staging the inside operations of our national catastrophe response team out of the Mayfield Heights facility increases overall efficiency and reduces our response time for handling CAT claims. For example, booking airfare and hotel rooms during a CAT response is critically important, but time consuming. Having the permanent CAT response center allows us to make travel arrangements for our inside team well in advance so that when a storm hits we can focus on getting our field reps into storm-hit areas fast. Being able to use critical resources in the best way possible during a CAT translates to resolving claims even faster and more accurately."

Source: The Progressive Group of Insurance Cos.

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