The following is excerpted from the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship’s research report, the Community Involvement Study 2015.
The 2015 Community Involvement Study finds that nearly all companies have a community involvement strategy or are in the process of setting one up. The most effective are those that align their programs with overall business objectives—bringing the unique skills and expertise of employees to bear on some of society’s toughest challenges.
As a property and casualty insurance company, Farmers Insurance knows well what challenges people face when they encounter natural disasters. Building from their core competency, Farmers has a dedicated team of staff members who handle only disaster response and are prepared to react in a moment’s notice. Farmers claims teams were among the first on the scene in New York and New Jersey following Superstorm Sandy. In Joplin, MO, when devastating tornadoes hit that community, Farmers sent employees from around the country to volunteer for two-week work rotations to rebuild and repair homes. By the end of 2014, Farmers had sent 400 employees to Joplin, donating close to 20,000 volunteer hours.
Farmers Insurance helps launch a Disaster Recovery Playbook To share their expertise in disaster recovery, Farmers staff took their work to the next level by creating an online resource to assist communities impacted by disasters. In 2014, Farmers Insurance partnered with the St. Bernard Project and launched an innovative Disaster Recovery Playbook, which helps municipalities prepare for and recover more quickly and efficiently in the event of disaster.
“To fulfill our shared commitment goal of accelerating the recovery process, we harnessed expertise and resources to create and test post-disaster recovery strategies captured in the new Disaster Recovery Playbook,” said Doris Dunn, director of community relations at Farmers. “This free and open resource offers insight into the best practices every community should know before, during, and after a disaster.”
The Disaster Recovery Playbook is based on best practices developed in New Orleans, Joplin, and New York/New Jersey following Superstorm Sandy. The Playbook is a comprehensive source that provides tools to recover promptly, outlines action steps for residents, and offers a standardized and adaptable model for post-disaster recovery. By using the model and process outlined in the Playbook, Joplin is years ahead of its recovery estimates. Immediately after the May 2011 tornadoes, estimates from respected organizations like Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) called for a recovery of up to seven years.
By using the Playbook’s model, virtually every homeowner displaced by the tornado was back in his or her home by the end of 2014, nearly three and a half years ahead of schedule. Farmers CEO Jeff Dailey is proud of this new resource. “During our time in Joplin, we saw first-hand how a series of proven best practices could help communities across the United States cut their time to recovery nearly in half,” said Dailey. “We are honored to share those valuable lessons with the launch of the Disaster Recovery Playbook.”