Disaster Recovery Playbook – There When You Need Us

Tornado Damage and DestructionDisaster Recovery Playbook – There when you need us

Farmers Insurance has a long and proud history of taking care of our customers and the communities where our agents, district managers and employees live and work. Following disasters, the Farmers claims team is often on the scene within hours, ensuring that our customers’ claims are settled quickly. In many cases, our employees volunteer their time to serve food to anyone who is hungry and hand out teddy bears to frightened children.

It was no different following the EF-5 tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo., in 2011.

Shortly before the 2-year anniversary of the storm, 35 families remained in FEMA trailers, the hundreds of additional families still had no home to return to and the resilient community determined to recover more quickly than originally predicted.

Homeowner move in JoplinMO

Disaster Recovery Playbook

Throughout 2013, Farmers began working on a Disaster Recovery Playbook, a guide based on the best practices developed in New Orleans, Joplin and New York/New Jersey following Superstorm Sandy.

The purpose of the Playbook is to provide disaster-impacted communities the tools to recover promptly, give residents clear action steps and offer disaster recovery organizations a standardized and adaptable model for post-disaster recovery.

The Disaster Recovery Playbook enables future recoveries to stand on the shoulders of past recoveries, dramatically reducing recovery time and offering insight into the best practices every community should know about, including:

  • Establishing and communicating a recovery plan in the first seven days resulting in faster access to resources and funding.
  • Understanding community leadership’s role in recovery and recognizing that some organizations are those coming in to help are in for the short-term vs. the long-term.
  • Running a recovery as if it were a business — establishing clear goals, clear accountability and clear language.

By using the model and process outlined in the Disaster Recovery Playbook, Joplin is years ahead of original outside estimates for its time to recovery.

Immediately after the May 2011 tornadoes, estimates from respected organizations like FEMA called for a recovery of up to seven years. But by using the Playbook’s model, a philosophy originally brought to life in New Orleans by the St. Bernard Project and improved upon in Joplin with the creation of Rebuild Joplin, the homeowners originally displaced by the tornadoes are expected to be back in their homes by the end of 2014, nearly three and a half years ahead of schedule.

To date, the Disaster Recovery Playbook has been endorsed by The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Mike Seibert, Mayor of Joplin, Mo.

Farmers is proud to stand side-by-side with St. Bernard Project and Rebuild Joplin to share the work we all know will impact communities for years to come.

The Disaster Recovery Playbook is available online at www.disasterrecoveryplaybook.org.

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