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Tactics depend on location


The task of adjusting remote claims often becomes even more complicated when an international element is thrown in to the mix.

Even under less than ideal circumstances, the United States "has a very good infrastructure," says Jeff Bowman, chief operating officer, global property and casualty services for Crawford & Co. in Atlanta. "We can get a satellite communication truck to an area pretty quickly after an event has happened."

But in the Caribbean, "there is a whole different scenario," as illustrated by the challenges facing adjusters after Hurricane Ivan struck the Cayman Islands in 2004, said Mr. Bowman.

The hurricane closed the airport to commercial jets for several days, authorities imposed a civilian curfew and there was no electricity. "They couldn't pump gas," Mr. Bowman said.

Still, Crawford had to get adjusters to the scene. The company told designated personnel to "get yourselves to Kingston, Jamaica." From there, Crawford hired small aircraft to fly them to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

The adjusting firm, meanwhile, hired an undamaged dive boat docked in the Grand Cayman to use as base of operations, he said. The vessel had satellite links and "enough bedrooms to assure our adjusters were able to work," he said. The adjusters used bicycles and small mopeds to get around.

"We were up and running in 24 hours," Mr. Bowman said. "We handled a lot of very large claims there."