As thousands of South Africans were making plans to welcome in the New Year, the City of Johannesburg was shaken by a series of violent storms that left a trail of destruction. Estimated at a cost of R190 million, city officials continue to count the cost of the damage and Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba, says that this figure could still rise.
While parts of Gauteng, were declared disaster zones, news reports stated that massive hail stones, flash floods, gale force winds and lightning had damaged thousands of streets, shopping centres, office buildings and private homes.
This is according to Ruben Moggee, Chief Executive Officer at Digicall Solutions, who says that KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have both been severely impacted by several violent summer storms since October 2017. Following the catastrophic weather patterns that tore through Johannesburg during the final week of 2017, financial services providers were bracing for a deluge of calls, claims and the dispatching of disaster management teams to manage the crisis.
“It’s critical that the financial services industry has adequate resources in place to manage their clients at a time like this,” says Moggee. “We have more than 15 years of experience, working side-by-side with the insurance and financial services sector, helping them to provide immediate assistance to their private and business clients, who have experienced loss and damage during these storms,” he says.
Digicall offers an innovative portfolio of services to the financial services industries, whereby Digicall aligns its offering with these institutions and becomes a formidable partner that can manage high emergency call volumes and deploy specialised incident and claim management teams to assist with claims assessments, clean-up and adjudication services.
Digicall boasts some of South Africa’s most well-respected financial services and insurance providers amongst its list of satisfied clients, but it’s those businesses and individuals who are direct clients of these organisations, who reap the greatest benefit from Digicall’s service offering.
“During Johannesburg’s year-end hail storm, our call centre agents demonstrated exceptional performance,” he says. “During a normal day our agents will take an average of 20 calls per hour, but during the storm, this number increased to over 100 calls per hour,” he says.
Moggee adds that the most important thing is that each of those calls received, represents another client. In one week, over 3 000 homeowners were adequately assisted. These clients had all experienced major loss and damage to their cars, homes and gardens. Moggee adds that in some cases, teams were even sent out to help clear trees that had been struck down causing damage to client’s property.
A severe storm can leave clients in crisis with extensive damage to property, roads and other infrastructure. “Our initial focus is on helping our corporate clients to deploy an emergency management plan and dispatching special claims teams to affected areas to work directly with intermediaries and clients,” says Moggee. “Our priority is always to assist with emergencies, especially in cases where individuals have lost nearly everything as a result of the extreme weather events,” he concludes.