The bad weather in 2021 has kept AXA Switzerland and its customers busy. No surprise, as it's a summer that will go down in the history books. An exceptional situation that turned daily lives upside down, even at AXA.
This is not how we imagined the first half of the summer. Umbrellas and wind jackets rather than sunglasses and swimming towels. And for weeks on end. The persistent rain and storms were not only stressful, but they also caused considerable damage: hail damage to cars, flooded cellars, personal effects washed away.
In the second half of June alone, AXA Switzerland estimated damage of over CHF 143 million, affecting around 33,000 customers. "This means that according to AXA's statistics on bad weather damage, 2021 was by the end of June already the worst year for claims since 2009", said Marc Gfeller, deputy head of AXA Hail Task Force, and added: "It's very unusual to have such a concentration of bad weather damage within a few days, I've not experienced that before." In these situations, the telephones never stop ringing. "After the massive hailstorm on June 28, 2021, around 4,000 customers called us within 24 hours, resulting in several thousand online claims notifications", said Marc Gfeller.
To cope with the enormous volume, AXA's task force organization is immediately activated after bad weather. After a hail event, it quickly decides whether and where drive-ins will be opened for motor vehicle customers. Among others, volunteer staff from the whole company boost the numbers of the Service Center. One of them is Adnan Yahya. He actually works in the Finex product team as a solution architect, but if there is a major storm, he is called up by the bad-weather pool. "If I can somehow organize it, I stop doing my work and help in the Service Center because they need every spare hand when things like this occur", says Adnan Yahya. "It's a new and exciting thing for me to have direct customer contact, and it's fun being able to help people. Time flies!"
After you've reported the claim, the damage has to be estimated as quickly and simply as possible. While compensation for minor damage to household contents or buildings is based on customer receipts and documentation, loss surveyors go on site to inspect expensive and complex cases and support the repair coordination work. AXA drive-ins are set up whenever there has been hail damage to motor vehicles.
Drive-ins are mainly associated with the food service industry, but being served in your car has also paid off in other sectors for a long time. At AXA, customers turn up with their hail-damaged car, experts calculate the damage and give vehicle owners the option of having the claims amount paid out or the vehicle repaired, provided it isn't a total loss. "This way, we offer our customers rapid and straightforward assistance. After around 30 minutes, they can leave the drive-in with a good solution", says René Büchler, AXA Vehicle Expert and Head of HUB St. Gallen & Winterthur. If customers decide they would like the payout, the money is in their account a few days later and the case is closed. If they have their vehicle repaired, they can decide whether to have it done by AXA partners or by a garage of their choice.
A special tool is used in the Thun drive-in: a hail scanner which counts the number of dents in your car and records how large they are. The damaged vehicle drives slowly through a special tunnel while the 3D scanner does its work. It means that the damage can be reliably calculated within six minutes. "We are very pleased with this test run. The hail scanner delivers rapid results that are, from a quality perspective, just as good as manual counting", says René Büchler. It is planned to extend use of the scanner next year.
However, the rapid customer service doesn't just start in the drive-in, but as soon as the damage occurs. AXA has now set up a text messaging service where people with AXA motor vehicle insurance who live in an area greatly affected by hail receive a text message straightaway with information about where to report claims. "When it comes to loss events, we are simply there for our customers", says Stefan Zellweger, CRM campaign manager at AXA. "According to our feedback, the initiative is going really well, regardless of whether the person we've written to suffers damage or not."
With all these processes, AXA Switzerland ensures that it provides help as quickly and simply as possible. So that nobody's left out in the rain after bad weather.