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

Photo by Michael D on Unsplash

For almost half the year the threat of hurricanes looms large over homeowners and lenders in the U.S. With June 1 marking the beginning of hurricane season. After a brutal 2020, another above-normal hurricane season is predicted for 2021. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued a forecast that predicts 13–20 named storms, 6–10 of which will become hurricanes, and 3–5 of which could become major hurricanes.

Every year homeowners in coastal states (primarily along the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico), and many inland states in the Southeast, sit on pins and needles as the spring turns to summer and tropical depressions off the coast of Africa build to become tropical storms and potentially become hurricanes. The season is long, with the threat of hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. does not officially end until November 1. 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 a natural disaster, homeowners whose homes or workplaces may have been impacted need fast peace of mind.

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 considering all of the “what if” scenarios, the homeowner and lender should place confidence in managing or mitigating damage when it does happen.

This is just one of the areas where Brace can help. Brace’s mortgage servicing solution integrates with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) data, which actively pulls data on affected areas. When the Federal Government declares a disaster area related to any kind of natural disaster, such as a flood or hurricane, Brace instantly layers that information — down to the ZIP-code level — into the customers’ account. Allowing lenders to 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. Informing 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.

Our solution is compliant with the Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and puts the lender in a position of proactively assisting the homeowner, not reactively. Increasing 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.

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