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On the road with 'MERRV'
When something as devastating as a bushfire sweeps through a community, it’s a long and difficult road to recovery.
It’s during these times that we want to make the claims process as easy as possible for our customers, so where possible we’ve been visiting communities that have been the most affected by bushfires to help customers and provide emergency support.
This includes having our people travel to recovery centres in bushfire areas – for instance, since the start of this year our teams have gone to recovery centres in Ulladulla, Batemans Bay, Bega, Bairnsdale, Mallacoota and Melbourne.
We also have our Major Event Rapid Response Vehicles, also known as ‘MERRVs’, that we send out into communities where a recovery centre may not be set up.
Our MERRVs stay in communities for as long as they’re needed, with our team often spending time in communities over the weekend to ensure all customers get the all help they need.
We use our MERRVs during all types of natural disasters including major bushfires, floods, storms and cyclones.
Terry Cheng (second from left) and our team in Cobargo (L to ): Luke Gallagher, Marco Gagliardi and Craig Byfield
Terry in the driver’s seat
Terry Cheng oversees where our MERRVs go and is often the one driving. He explained that the purpose of a MERRV is to allow IAG, and our brands including NRMA Insurance and CGU, to have a face-to-face presence on the ground in locations impacted by weather events.
“Sending our MERRVs into the heart of smaller, rural towns helps us provide our customers with access to their policy information and ensures their claims can be managed on the spot during difficult times,” said Terry.
MERRVs are often supported by a team of home assessors and claims consultants who manage customer claims on site and provide emergency accommodation and payment assistance as required.
“We recognise that some customers may not have access to a phone or the internet, and they don’t want to leave their towns because they might have livestock that need tending to, so we make it easier for them to come and see us in person by being located close by.”
We want to ensure that customers who need immediate assistance know that we are on the ground and ready to help.
“We continually monitor the situation in the affected and surrounding areas and make decisions on best locations for our MERRVs,” Terry said.
During the recent bushfires, we deployed our MERRV to Cobargo to help customers who were unable to leave home but wanted to receive face to face support.
Our team speaks to a customer in Cobargo
To find out more about how IAG is helping customers visit our bushfire response news hub.