IN DISASTER-AFFECTED AREAS, THE
uncertainty that hangs over the residents
is clear: belongings piled by the roadside,
RVs hastily transformed into primary
residences, and crowded motel parking
lots. With so much property loss, the
influx of insurance claims is inevitable.
Donan’s Nicole Lucas, P.E., says the evidence of displacement can be tough to
take in. However, she is proud to be part
of a company whose inspections bring
clients and policyholders one step closer
to closure after catastrophe strikes.
Donan’s national footprint means
facing a variety of severe weather perils, from snow loads to drought, from
tornados to hurricanes. In 2016, Donan
established a CAT protocol to provide
an efficient and conclusive response
to perils causing high claim volumes.
Since that time, the firm has addressed
disasters that trigger hundreds or even
thousands of claims. Because Donan’s
project managers often need to travel out
of their home states to high-need areas,
engineers are licensed in multiple states,
targeting regions most often affected by
severe weather, such as Florida, Texas,
and the Atlantic coast.
At every stage of a weather event,
planning and attentiveness are crucial
to calculating a response. During CAT,
multiple departments in Donan work
toward a single goal: getting necessary
resources and personnel on site to provide as many inspections as they can as
quickly as they can.
As early as possible, potential CAT
situations are monitored; in the case of
hurricanes, this could be more than a
week before the storm makes landfall.
Based on the trajectory and estimated magnitude, a team of professionals
creates a series of contingency plans.
Donan’s sales team is in close contact
with clients as they prepare to respond
to their policyholders’ anticipated needs,
so the engineering response is tailored to
the expectations of the clients. Regional
managers create new schedules to employ if the need to divert engineers arises.
Client Services sets aside schedulers to
communicate exclusively with clients and
policyholders from the affected areas.
Once the weather event strikes, Donan
secures local hotel rooms, sometimes for
months at a time, for engineers redirected from other regions. Supplies including ladders, roofing gear, and extra tools
are shipped to the location, saving engineers valuable preparation time. The new
schedule that prioritizes CAT locations
is managed by centralized scheduling,
allowing the engineers to focus on the
hands-on aspect of their work. Ms. Lucas
reports that she and other engineers responding to such events often perform
inspections from sunup to sundown.
Jen Cook, another forensic engineer
with Donan, who has traveled for CAT
work over many years and weather
events, also notes the importance of
Donan’s presence to the policyholders’
peace of mind. “We are out there to
perform a site inspection, but at the same
time I am convinced that we help people
process what has happened to them by
being willing to take several moments to
listen.” During the response to Hurricane
Harvey, two Donan leaders threw a piz-
za party for families staying in their ho-
tel, including games for the kids and
donations of diapers and bottled water.
Compassion and empathy are as import-
ant to Donan’s catastrophe operations as
the logistics and contribute to an overall
A key component of Donan’s CAT
protocol is providing engineers who are
energetic and focused. To achieve this,
engineers are generally deployed to the
affected areas for one week at a time, then
cycled out, with a fresh project manager
taking their place. Time at home allows
Donan engineers to both refresh and
provide quality follow-up reports on the
inspections they performed.
Donan’s successful and evolving CAT
protocol focuses on the whole weather
event: preparation, scheduling, inspections, compassion, and communication
provide an unsurpassed level of forensic
engineering service during times when
clients and their policyholders need
CAT Protocol Provides Speedy Response,
Peace of Mind