Opinion: Doesn’t Matter How
West Fertilizer Dangers Were Revealed
By Chad Hemenway, PropertyCasualty360.com
The attorney representing Bryce Ashley Reed says his client will plead not guilty to a federal charge of possessing
an explosive device.
Reed, a West, Texas paramedic, was
arrested in May, weeks after the deadly
explosion at West Fertilizer Co. According to an affidavit, Reed admitted
to possessing the components of a pipe
bomb. He apparently handed over the
ingredients—chemical powders, a fuse, a
lighter, a digital scale and other items—
to an acquaintance.
Reed responded to the explosion on
April 17, 2013 at West Fertilizer Co.,
which killed 15 people and left hundreds
more wounded. The massive explosion
also damaged or destroyed 140 homes, an
apartment complex, two schools, a retirement center, and various local businesses.
Authorities have not officially linked
Reed to the blast at the fertilizer retailer
in the small rural community of about
2,800. His lawyer says Reed had “no involvement whatsoever” in the explosion
at the plant.
Several hours after the arrest was
made public, authorities said a criminal
From how we connect to how we do
business, technology is—and has been—
changing the world in which we live. With
this disruption comes innovation, and the
wealth of tools related to social media,
mobile technology, and predictive analytics
While technology offers many opportunities and potential benefits to P&C insurers, it
also poses challenges, especially for claims
organizations. In this new era of visibility, the
claims process is under intense public scrutiny
and must be constantly re-evaluated and
optimized. Recent disasters such as Hurricane
Sandy illustrate this and seemingly solidify
insurers’ place under the microscope.
The reality is that customer expectations
have also perhaps never been higher. Cus-
tomer satisfaction will continue to be a key
differentiator in a highly competitive market,
and insurers seeking to attract and retain
customers will need to streamline their
claims operations in every way imaginable.
Brad Fisher, the vice president and direc-
tor of the property claims division at Ameri-
can Modern Insurance Group, knows a great
deal about using technology to optimize the
claims process, from FNOL to settlement. Re-
cently Claims’ Christina Bramlet spoke with
Fisher about the evolving role of technology
in a new era in claims handling.
Claims IT Decisions
With Brad Fisher, Vice President, Director of Property
Claims Division at American Modern Insurance Group
the last year to streamline each claim from
first notice of loss (FNOL) to check issuance.
Now that we are paperless, information
gathered during the claims investigation is
available more quickly to others in the organization to support the claims process. This
enables us to handle analysis, authorization,
and customer support while the adjuster
investigates or responds to other claims.
This should also improve accuracy, resulting
in faster settlement, which averages less
than 30 days.
Q: How is technology streamlining your
company’s claims process?
American Modern has invested heavily in
its IT infrastructure and software solutions in
Q: Are certain technologies becoming
more crucial for the claims process
Claims processing is simply a microcosm of
evolving attitudes in the general marketplace
in regards to an expectation of immediate
accessibility and response. So, mobile technology solutions that are incorporated with high
speed internet are helping us better meet that
expectation by allowing customers and adjusters to share information more efficiently.