When lighting struck the Gibson Cancer Center in late June of last year, it sparked a fire that burned a significant part of the building to the ground, destroyed key medical equipment and displaced more than 40 patients. The community of Lumberton, North Carolina was devastated to see its beloved institution so damaged, particularly since its acquisition of a Versa HD Linear Accelerator – a top-of-the-line radiation therapy system.
But thanks in part to the center’s insurer, the story has a happy ending.
Chubb Corp. was notified of the loss Saturday afternoon, just a few hours after lightning first struck the building. Local loss adjustor Jim Ludlow was onsite Sunday to meet with the insured as well as cause and origin experts, and the following day, Chubb sent general adjustor Michael Koos to oversee the sizable claim.
“Our objective was to identify the priorities that needed to be addressed and not be an obstacle to the facility,” Koos told Insurance Business America. “We needed to make quick, educated decisions on the first and immediate need, which was to allow the patients to continue treatment.”
Following contingency plans the Gibson Cancer Center had in place, patients and equipment were transferred to temporary facilities and claims staff were able to begin assessing the situation. From the outset, it was determined that the wing housing the Linear Accelerator would be a total loss, while extensive smoke damage had harmed much of the rest of the building.
Koos brought in a construction consultant as well as a medical equipment company to get quick assessments and establish a proper course to begin to rebuild the center. The Chubb team worked hand-in-hand with Gibson to go over plans and scheduling, and to keep the process moving.
“Given the nature of the facility and what they provide, we wanted to do all we could to get them back up and operating as quickly as possible,” Koos said. “So for this claim, the timeline was much more important than usual.”
After spending much time onsite, Koos followed up once a week via conference calls with vendors, contractors and the insured to make sure the center had what it needed to meet rebuilding completion estimates of 13 months.
In the end, they did it in nine months. On March 21, 2016, the Gibson Cancer Center resumed radiation therapy to patients, four months ahead of schedule.
“We did incur additional costs working nights, weekends and overtime to get the reconstruction completed at an accelerated pace, but Chubb as a company decided that it was to our benefit as well as the insured’s and the community’s to complete the repairs ahead of schedule,” Koos said. “It was also very rewarding to me individually – it gives you a good feeling from start to finish, and a sense of satisfaction.”
It is that attention to detail that gives Chubb its positive reputation in the industry, earning business and even attracting top talent – a difficult task for many insurance firms. The ability to work for a company that gives employees proper resources and commands respect “means the world,” Koos said.
“Before I came to Chubb, it was the place I wanted to be and the company I wanted to work for,” he said. “And now that I’m here, I know it’s the best decision I’ve made. I hope to retire with Chubb.”
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