Wired to Answer the Call: AIG’s Response to Hurricane Harvey

Local Texans walk through a flooded Orange, Texas neighborhood, Sept. 3, 2017. Hurricane Harvey formed in the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in southeastern Texas, bringing record flooding and destruction to the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts).

Three words that come to mind when we think about the impact of natural disasters: Preparedness, Relief, and Recovery. How do we prepare for natural disasters? How do we provide relief to those affected, particularly the most vulnerable, in the immediate aftermath of a disaster? What can we do to help them recover in the long term?

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At its core, insurance is there to provide answers to these questions. We use our expertise to proactively help our clients identify and reduce their risks, and we are there if they suffer a loss to recover and rebuild. We are also active members of the communities where we serve to lend a helping hand to those most in need.
As Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc in Houston and the surrounding areas, AIG quickly assumed the responsibility to provide critical support to clients, colleagues, and affected communities. Our employees, as insurance experts, were wired to answer this call.
With more than 3,000 employees in the Houston area and AIG’s campus under water, in order to provide this support, we needed to account for every single employee and prepare to deploy available resources to provide relief to those affected. Our business continuity department was able to create a safe environment for our employees to efficiently deliver critical business solutions.
During this time, we saw AIG values come to life, with colleagues in canoes rescuing those trapped by rising water, bilingual staff working as translators to help complete FEMA forms and obtain free tetanus shots, and a nationwide “Support an AIG Family” campaign raising funds for those in need.
AIG committed to a $1,000,000 donation to Hurricane Harvey Relief, with $500,000 to support five local nonprofit organizations that AIG and its employees have relationships with through employee volunteerism. The remaining $500,000 was dedicated to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy to be directed toward medium- and longer-term recovery efforts.
When making the decision to divide the donation this way, our team relied on those three words so relevant to our industry and the impact of natural disasters: preparedness, relief, and recovery. We wanted to provide immediate relief to the city and give our employees the opportunity to volunteer. Though we recognized the value of immediate relief, our expertise in insurance reminded us of the importance of investing in medium- and longer-term recovery efforts so that those affected could recover completely and become better prepared for future events.
We are proud to support the efforts of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, a leader in strategic disaster-related giving. Through this challenging time, the Center has provided us with invaluable educational material, resources, and guidance on how to effectively handle the devastating effects of natural disasters. We’re thankful for the support they provided to help us answer the call for our clients, colleagues, and our community.

Pamella Rodrigues

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