VIEWS: 11 PAGES: 8 CATEGORY: Business & Economics POSTED ON: 8/27/2010
Shortly after 4 AM on Saturday, Dec 6, 2008, the author was jarred out of bed by a phone call. It was Wendy Fransen, the CFO of Benchmark Foam, an agency client. Her first words were "the plant has burned to the ground." An anonymous caller had reported the fire to 911 at 2:15 AM. The plant had not run a third shift that night, so the facility was empty. That meant that no one was injured or killed. However, had there been a shift working that night, early detection might have controlled the fire. It was his responsibility to reassure everyone that they would put the insurance plan to work and support their recovery effort. He outlined the post-emergency issues that they would be facing in the coming weeks. Because of ongoing investigations by insurance companies, the site would remain secured for six weeks -- far longer than he anticipated. This is an issue that is overlooked when estimating recovery time for Business Income purposes.
076-081:076-081 7/16/10 12:10 PM Page 76 BURNED TO THE GROUND A agent’s story of a client’s recovery—Part 1 By Jeff Pray, CPCU, RPLU, AFSB, CIC Bonnie Merz, one of our agency’s claims found Tom Devine on the service road. specialists. She, in turn, called two He climbed into my truck. S adjusters at Cincinnati Insurance “I bet I ruined a good pheasant hortly after 4 a.m. on Company, the carrier on the account. hunt for you today,” were Tom’s ﬁrst Saturday, December 6, 2008, Before 9 a.m., one of those adjusters words. Talk about cutting through I was jarred out of bed by a was enroute to Watertown and had the tension of a difﬁcult moment. By phone call. If you have a son assembled a team that included a sub- that time, the plant was completely or daughter away at college, you know rogation attorney out of Chicago, a destroyed. The large ﬂames on the the thoughts that race through your Cause & Origin expert from Missouri, west end of the plant were fueled by mind as your reach for the phone. and a local independent adjusting ﬁrm, a stockpile of polystyrene inventory, an Thankfully, it wasn’t the kids. It was Dakota Claims. The adjusting team was insulating material that is Benchmark’s Wendy Fransen, the CFO of on the scene Saturday and Sunday. main product. There was no stopping Benchmark Foam, an agency client. My next call was to the president that ﬁre; the ﬁreﬁghters could only Her ﬁrst words were, “Jeff, the plant of Benchmark, Tom Devine, who let it burn itself out. has burned to the ground.” would meet me on the service road An anonymous caller had reported Within 30 minutes I was driving north of the plant. the ﬁre to 911 at 2:15 a.m. The plant to Benchmark’s headquarters in It was still a very dark, very cold had not run a third shift that night, Watertown, South Dakota, 100 miles morning as the lights of Watertown so the facility was empty. That meant away from our agency in Sioux Falls. began to brighten the horizon. I was that no one was injured or killed. It was the beginning of a yearlong probably three miles south of town However, had there been a shift journey with the people of when I could ﬁrst see the long, thick working that night, early detection Benchmark. Despite my 26 years in black trail of smoke that somehow might have controlled the ﬁre. the commercial insurance business stood out against the dark morning and all the insurance designations I sky, winding southward with a strong had earned, when the phone rang north wind behind it. As I slowed to Nearby businesses that morning, I felt ill-prepared. exit off the interstate, the red glow As we sat together, brieﬂy What did we do before the age of cell from the ﬁre lit the sky only a few reviewing the information I brought phones, e-mail, and the Blackberry®? hundred yards away. After clearing the for Tom and Wendy, we watched the On the way to Watertown, I called checkpoint with emergency ofﬁcials, I heavy black smoke billowing to the 76 ROUGH NOTES 076-081:076-081 7/16/10 12:10 PM Page 77 Photo Courtesy of Watertown Fire Department Firefighters protect Benchmark Foam’s only surviving structure, Next door at Mallard Pointe Surgical Center, smoke damage a storage building. was extensive. jobs. Many of the workers would be south, engulﬁng the Mallard Pointe Benchmark would have a supply solu- enlisted to provide security at the ﬁre Surgical Center next door. This smoke tion in place to preserve this critical site, and some would become damage would shut down and business relationship. By 8 a.m. the carpenters to set up temporary ofﬁces interrupt those operations for several doors of Enercept
Pages to are hidden for
"BURNED TO THE GROUND - PDF"Please download to view full document