Guidance on Major Weather Events and COVID-19
In the past few years we have seen regions disrupted by hurricanes, floods, and blizzards. This article highlights our policy regarding collecting from customers who are impacted by major storms and our efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis requires the same methodical approach to communication as do major weather events. We see that throughout the country, businesses are impacted differently. Some “essential” businesses are thriving, most non-essential businesses are struggling, and some may never reopen. Assessing each situation allows us to work with those that need it the most as we all recover from this crisis. Should you have questions about our COVID-19 policies, please let us know.
Leading up to Major Weather Events
There are times prior to storms when people have to evacuate. A collection account is the last thing a person is worried about. On the rare occasions that mass evacuations are necessary, we suspend collection calls until the outcome of the actual event is known. The period of time we suspend calls varies with each event.
As Recovery Begins:
Once we are past the major disruption of an event, we begin outbound collection calls. We reach out to people and begin with “soft” calls and tend to see three scenarios:
- Company is operating normally: If businesses have escaped major damage, they are typically trying to get back to normal operations quickly. When that is the case, we resume our collection efforts in earnest.
- Company is operating, but has encountered significant challenges: We work with the principals to determine the extent of damage and how that impacts their ability to repay the debt. We look for the best solution for the situation. A short payment plan that gives them time/financial flexibility to recover, a formal repayment plan through a promissory note, or a settlement may be warranted. Prior to settling any account, we seek approval from our clients.
- Cannot reach anyone at the company: We know the cities/regions that have received the most damage from the storm. If we are unable to re-establish contact with the debtor companies, we code the account for follow up at specific future time frames. Some companies may not be operational for weeks or months. They make it known they are trying to recover and often reach out to us. Other companies may be gone forever. We make attempts over the course of several months to determine which companies will ultimately recovery. When we identify those surviving companies, it is normally warranted to work out payment plans, promissory notes, and even settlements.
Our professional approach returns the most money in the long run. When a major event occurs, we sort through the accounts methodically to ensure we minimize your dilution and that contacts resume with the utmost professionalism and concern for those customers impacted.