Catastrophe Plan


When a catastrophic event occurs, vrsANA has a long-standing history of demonstrating its obligation and duty to its clients to, first, maintain its normal day-to-day services at its expected operating service locations, and second, to provide service in the affected area for any catastrophe losses experienced by its clients.  These procedures will address how vrsANA will respond to these catastrophe losses without affecting the services expected from its day-to-day BAU operations.


vrsANA Catastrophe Management is made up of two persons who will collectively address all issues arising from any given catastrophe. The Catastrophe Management will comprise the Catastrophe Manager (CEO or GM) and State Manager from the affected state. Keeping the Catastrophe Management to 2 people enables decisions to be made quickly and effectively. The pair will work together throughout each year to ensure that all components for catastrophe response are in place for the occurrence of any catastrophic event, and the extent of vrsANA’s commitments through its Pre-Cat Agreements.

When a catastrophe does occur, or it becomes inevitable that one will occur, duties will be assigned to the vrsANA Catastrophe Management, or their designees, contingent on the type, severity and location of the catastrophe.

These duties will be as follow:

  1. Contacting all Pre-Cat Agreement clients and vrsANA Account Managers to determine their exposure and manpower requirements in the affected catastrophe area.
  2. Determining the location of the on-site catastrophe office, and/or need for multiple catastrophe offices throughout the affected area, and making arrangements for the following:
    • Remote Office and facilities
    • Accommodation and living expenses
    • Travel (state and interstate travel)
    • Car Rental
    • Communications (mobile coverage, internet connectivity)
    • General Supplies
    • Maps- mobile applications
    • Local Requirements for international work (Passports, Inoculations, Travel Documents, Travel Insurance)
  1. Assembling remotely the required manpower as needed:
    • Team Leader/Supervisors
    • Adjusters
    • Support staff
  1. Mobilise support staff to be made available for lodgement of claims, acknowledgement and confirmation of claims received, updating of information onto Claims Management System (CMS) data base, periodic reporting
  2. Determining vendor capabilities and contact information, to include engineers, salvage companies, forensic accountants, contractors, builders, suppliers etc.
  3. Contact or liaison with other potential clients that may require the services of vrsANA, contingent on what capacity for such service exists.
  4. Establish agreed pricing and costs for catastrophe event claims handling.

Utilising this team approach to the management of catastrophes, vrsANA is able to address the needs and requirements of any size catastrophe, or group of catastrophes, without any negative impact on its regular BAU operations.


vrsANA is committed to forming pre-catastrophe relationships with certain clients, usually those who anticipate receiving claim volumes in excess of 500 claims for any one event. This allows for the mutual benefit of pre-cat planning to both the client and vrsANA.  These potential relationships will generally be established through previous discussions and will be presented for acceptance to the vrsANA Catastrophe Management, which will consider the following factors:

  • Nominated Adjuster Requirements
  • Pricing Requirements
  • Service Requirements
  • Anticipated Volume by Location
  • Type of Risks and Loss Severity
  • Service Fee Payment Terms
  • Other Distinguishing Factors

If the vrsANA Catastrophe Management approves the Pre-Cat relationship, then a Pre-Cat Agreement will be prepared and executed by the client and vrsANA.  Following this, a Set-up Meeting will be scheduled so that all aspects of the relationship can be discussed and agreed upon. 

The Set-up Meeting agenda will include the following areas:

  • Initial loss reporting
  • Coverage determination
  • Service expectations
  • Reporting expectations
  • Use of experts
  • Complaint/claim issue resolution
  • Invoicing and payment
  • Contacts

Immediately preceding any anticipated catastrophe, or in the event of an unexpected catastrophe, vrsANA will contact each Pre-Cat Agreement client to coordinate its efforts and establish the protocols for service that have been previously agreed to contingent on the circumstances of the event itself.

Following each catastrophe, vrsANA will meet with each Pre-Cat Agreement client to determine if the client’s expectations of vrsANA’s services were achieved, and whether any changes need to be made in any of the areas discussed during the initial Set-up Meeting in order to prepare for the next catastrophe.

Each Pre-Cat Agreement will be reviewed annually to determine which ones will continue in effect for the next year considering the previously outlined factors.


Considering the cost of initial deployment, vrsANA uses discretion when a catastrophe occurs.  Through its adjusting locations and affiliates, along with its catastrophe tracking and monitoring systems, vrsANA makes its initial evaluation on the location, size and expertise of adjuster deployment that will be required based on catastrophe survey information obtained.  Any specific client requirements are also factored into this decision making process.

The Catastrophe Manager will determine the initial response requirements

  1. Severity of the event based on whether reports.
  2. Number of potential claims based on the number of risks the client has in the location.
  3. Consider the affected areas and the logistics involved in moving resources
  4. Number of local adjusters available to attend and level of expertise required for types of losses expected and who will form first wave support.
  5. Number of adjusters available from the same state but from other locations who can travel by road and who will form the second wave support
  6. Number of available adjusters from interstate who will form the third wave support.


The Catastrophe Team will consist of three major components: 

  1. State Manager/ Catastrophe Supervisor
  2. Adjusters
  3. Clerical Support

The Catastrophe Manager will be will be responsible for all facets of the catastrophe operation, including being the main liaison with the clients being served by the catastrophe operation.

The Adjusters will report direct to the Client, via the CMS. The State Manager will monitor and be responsible for the quality of the service and reporting of the adjuster.  On small catastrophe operations, the State Manager may function in the dual role as the Catastrophe Supervisor.  In larger operations where multiple Catastrophe Supervisors are required (generally the ratio is one supervisor to fifteen adjusters), some or all of the supervision may be off-site.

The adjusters will be selected from three sources depending on availability of the expertise required for the given catastrophe:

  1. Permanent vrsANA adjusters from multiple person offices (local state and interstate). This will be for majority of the Catastrophes that we have in Australia
  2. Permanent adjusters from the vast vrs Adjusters network internationally that has the expertise to address Global Account Clients who have specific requirements, such as computerized estimate preparation, MS building evaluations, manuscript policies, etc.
  3. Temporary experienced catastrophe adjusters who function as Independent Contractors. This is a supplementary resource and only called upon occasionally.

Each catastrophe adjuster will need the following:

  • Lap top
  • USB modem
  • Mobile phone (secondary wifi modem)
  • Digital camera
  • Tape measure
  • Flashlight
  • Clipboard
  • Pens/pencils

The clerical support will be selected based on the needs of the given catastrophe:

  1. Permanent vrsANA clerical support from multiple person offices, including local adjuster offices and State Office. This will generally be for catastrophe site work only.
  2. Permanent vrsANA clerical support in an off-site office that will be responsible for file set-ups and reporting.
  3. Temporary clerical support for such functions as telephone, dictation typing, photocopying, scanning etc. This will be obtained for catastrophe site work or to supplement off-site support as needed.

The size of each of these three staff components will be contingent of the number of losses received, the types of risks involved, the severity of losses experienced and specific client expectations.

Once selected, it will be the duty of the Catastrophe Manger to ensure that each member of his/her Catastrophe Team fully understands each of the following:

  • Client expectations
  • Work product quality standards
  • Service standards
  • Daily production requirements
  • Reporting requirements

For international support provided by vrs Network partner adjusters, proper licensing, work permits and other local requirements must be the first order of business for the Catastrophe Manager and arranged before any overseas adjuster arrives at the Catastrophe location.

The Catastrophe Manager should ensure that all members of the Catastrophe Team have knowledge of available and approved vendors that are in the area, including local pricing.

Finally, it will be the primary duty of the Catastrophe Manager to establish and maintain a high level of morale in order to insure the greatest demonstration of total professionalism at all times.


There are three types of catastrophe adjuster expectations. First are full time vrsANA adjusters who work for a maximum period and receive a maximum number of claims.

Second are the Independent Adjusters who work on contract and are allowed to accept a higher volume of claims per rotation by virtue of the fact that they do not have other ongoing claims.

The third are adjusters who are governed by specific account requirements by clients and are nominated on such accounts.

The first type of adjusters will work a minimum of one week (7 days) and a maximum of two weeks (14 days) per rotation, depending on the number of claims received. Once 50 claims are received by the adjuster, even if this is within the first one 10 days, the adjuster does not take any more claims and has to return to their office. They continue to manage the Cat claims and their other pre-cat claims they manage.  This is to ensure on going quality of service and work for all claims handled. 

If during the two weeks the above adjuster has only received 30 claims, they are still required to return to their home office. This is to ensure that ongoing work does not suffer whilst they is away.

If after a month, there is a requirement for further rotations, the adjuster who has previously attended and is willing to return will be given first preference due to their previous site experience, for a further tour of duty. Again, they do not stay longer than two weeks or takes more than another 50 new claims.  

The second type of Adjuster is the Independent Contractor (IC) who is not limited to two week rotations but to 4 weeks. The IC will be able to accept up to 100 claims over a 4 weeks period after which they takes a break for a week. If required and if they is available, they have the option to commence a second tour of duty.

The third type of adjuster commitments apply to those adjusters who are nominated on accounts.  These adjusters will be in the catastrophe area for those accounts that they are responsible for, subject to approval by the client. And will work on pre-determined reporting guide lines but are again limited to 50 claims per rotation of up to two weeks.

7.  COVID-19

The vrsANA Corona Virus COVID -19 Risk Management Policy was based on information from the Public Health Authorities. It came into effect early in the pandemic and has worked well. It applies to all CAT situations, with the additional requirements:

  • All staff working outside the office shall carry or have in their vehicle, disposable latex gloves, approved masks and hand cleanser, to be used in any risk situation and especially when inspecting disaster sites.
  • When attending disaster areas, all staff will practice heightened social distancing.
  • In CAT situations, staff will exercise heightened self-monitoring and seek immediate medical assessment for any symptoms of ill-health even if not related to COVID-19.
  • Recognising that a COVID-19 infection is more severe for people with underlying illness or compromised immune systems, any vrsANA person working in a CAT environment will withdraw from fieldwork and public contact while ever they have any significant illness especially illnesses that affect the respiratory system, such as colds.


vrsANA policies and procedures in relation to vulnerable customers are set out in vrsANA’s training module for the General Insurance Code of Practice 2020. All vrsANA adjusters and professional staff are required to complete this course including pre-learning materials and successful test completion.

This includes sensitivity to the 11 indicators of vulnerability set out in the Code and differentiated responses to safeguard the client and protect their interests.

Where insurers have published policies on vulnerable customers (including family violence) vrsANA adjusters and professional staff will make theses policies available to them. For more details refer to vrsANA’s Domestic and Family Violence Policy.


The nature of the catastrophe will determine whether a temporary catastrophe office will be required, or whether alternative options such as motel facilities or an existing vrsANA office will suffice.  This selection is a factor of location, facility availability and type and size of catastrophe operation needed.

Whether the facilities are new or existing, the second step will be to secure proper communications to maintain CMS reporting. Internet connectivity is critical to maintain access to the web based CMS.

All of these components for establishing a Catastrophe Office can be supported through the State Office.

Temporary housing, transportation and car rentals can be arranged through vrsANA’s designated travel agency and paid by the vrsANA adjusting office sending the adjuster or by vrsANA head office. All such costs will be claimed as disbursements or via Cat Levy Fees as agreed by the client


Claims handling procedures, which are client specific and have, prior to the catastrophe, been defined and agreed to at a Set-up Meeting, must be conveyed to and understood by every member of the Catastrophe Team.  The success of the catastrophe will be solely defined by the final evaluations of the clients as to how vrsANA performed to its defined levels of performance.

Upon receipt of a new assignment, loss notification information will be uploaded onto the CMS and access made available to the attending adjuster, support staff who uploaded the claim, State Manager and Catastrophe Manager. As it is web based, accessibility is afforded whenever there is internet access.

Diary entries of notes, time and costs are uploaded onto the CMS. Reports to clients, instructions to suppliers, communication with brokers are created and sent from the CMS.

Reporting service guidelines for Cats may be outside the general reporting requirements but the focus to manage the claims effectively and proficiently remain paramount.

The adjuster will be responsible for calling all new assigned insureds on the same day as the assignment is made notifying them of his/her name, telephone contact information, estimated inspection date and determining whether any emergency assistance is needed.  The first three of these four items can be satisfied through voicemail. Action taken is noted on the CMS and reported to Clients within 48 hours or sooner in critical cases.


Following every catastrophe, there are four major steps that will be the Catastrophe Manager’s responsibility to conclude:

  1. A cross-section of files must be re-inspected to insure the accuracy and integrity of the adjustments.
  2. Ensure that all bills have been paid.
  3. Liaise with each client to receive a critique of vrsANA’s service and to personally thank each of them for their support during the catastrophe.
  4. Send thank you notes to each member of the Catastrophe Team that performed well.

The Catastrophe Manager will report the results of vrsANA’s performance to the Catastrophe Management Team following each catastrophe so that any changes that are necessary for even better performance in future catastrophes can be affected.