Customer Experience

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3 mins

Proactive Customer Support for Homeowners Impacted by Natural Disasters: Hurricane Season

In 2021 homeowners and lenders breathed a sigh of relief after the 30 named Atlantic hurricanes, 11 of which broke land, during 2020’s brutal record-setting year. As of August 2nd, hurricane Danielle was the first to form after a slow start to this year’s season. But, as everyone knows, it only takes one massive hurricane to devastate an entire region and displace millions.  

Many homeowners in coastal states (primarily along the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico) and many inland states in the Southeast worry about these natural disasters yearly. Still, many are so used to hearing about hurricanes they become complacent until the storm is hours away, making it almost impossible to become prepared—if they weren’t already.

NASA hurricane image.

 

 

The threat of hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. does not officially end until November 1st, and contrary to popular belief, these storms do not become weaker as the season continues. Some of the worst storms on record have occurred in October. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the Mid-Atlantic region. That year, it was the most destructive hurricane on record, with more than $70 billion (2012 USD) in damage. In the wake of natural disasters of this magnitude which impact the homes and workplaces of millions of people, homeowners need fast peace of mind. Because the fact is, science shows climate change is only making hurricanes stronger over time.

Mortgage lending institutions also spend a lot of time considering the potential impact of hurricanes on homes in their portfolios. Rather than counting the days between the beginning and end of hurricane season and weighing all of the “what if” scenarios, the homeowner and lender should place confidence in managing or mitigating damage when it occurs.

Brace’s mortgage servicing platform helps mortgage servicers by integrating with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) data, which actively pulls data on affected areas. When the Federal Government declares a disaster area related to any sort of natural disaster (such as floods, hurricanes, or other climate-related disasters), Brace instantly layers that information — down to the ZIP-code level — into the customers’ account. This technology lets lenders make potentially impacted customers aware that financial assistance, or in some cases mortgage forbearance, could be available to them.

This solution significantly reduces the need for reliance on call center support by placing a customized message in the customers’ portal for potentially impacted customers. These messages inform customers of their options and how to engage with their lender to address the next steps with their mortgage. If a customer does call the lender, the call center can confidently direct them to their portal to learn more. Enabling customers to consider their options for pausing the mortgage or addressing immediate needs such as temporary housing is usually available to homeowners in any FEMA-declared disaster area. 

Brace is complies with the Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and puts the lender in a position to proactively assist the homeowner, instead of reactively. All of this increases customer satisfaction and engagement over the life of the loan.

To learn more about this FEMA-integrated solution or to schedule a demo from an industry expert at Brace.