Responding rapidly to the worst of times
When Canada experienced one of its costliest natural disasters in history, our people were there to help, 24/7. The May 2016 wildfires in Alberta led to 80,000 evacuations and 2,400 buildings, including homes, being damaged or destroyed. Our Canada-based RSA colleagues worked around the clock to support those affected. It is a sobering, real-life reminder of exactly why, as part of our Corporate Responsibility strategy, we aim to be a Responsible Business that acts quickly when our customers need us most.
Fort McMurray is a small but growing city nestled amongst the spruce trees of Alberta, Canada. After an unusually dry winter, in May 2016, high temperatures coupled with strong winds fanned devastating forest fires in the city’s direction, leading to the largest wildfire evacuation in Canadian history. Everyone in the area was ordered to leave and most left homes and businesses not knowing what, if anything, would be left when they returned. In the end, over 10% of the city’s infrastructure suffered damage or destruction.
As an organisation that exists to protect and safeguard our customers, this event put the very purpose of our company to the test – but our teams in Canada pulled together for a response to be proud of. Our Claims Adjusters called customers night and day, just to see how they were and to offer our help. Catastrophe Specialists visited the Edmonton evacuation centres to give information, advice and urgent financial support. We were on the ground, too, helping returning evacuees get everything from masks and hard hats to temporary homes and office space. Behind the scenes, our Claims, Underwriting, Marketing, IT, Communications and Finance teams combined to rapidly resolve claims and liaise with customers via social media.
Being there for people at their toughest times is often what our business is all about. Knowing that we were there for the citizens of Alberta, as demonstrated by the displays of gratitude we received from many affected individuals and our largest corporate Affinity partners, is humbling.
Our fantastic teams in Canada pulled together to make things better for our customers, the lifeblood of our company. We will always seek out ways to improve how we serve them, especially in their greatest time of need.