Farmers Insurance rolled its Mobile Catastrophe Claims (MCC) bus into Bergen County Thursday as part of its eight-city tour of the east coast.
Farmers is the the third-largest provider of both private passenger auto and homeowners insurance in the country. Based in California, and long established on the west coast, Farmers is making its way east as evidenced by the television commercials that have been airing in the metropolitan market.
Their first stop was the Fort Lee Fire department where they held a presentation and tour of one of their MCC buses, a unique service available to communities devastated by severe weather events and disasters.
A spokesperson said that they like to visit firehouses to demonstrate to the first responders the support that these mobile units can provide to first responders, as well as to the community.
"We like to visit firehouses because during times of disaster, we work very closely with the fire services," Jerry Davies, Farmers Insurance Assistant V.P. said.
Equipped with satellites, computers, televisions, a live Doppler feed, iPhones, and a 30K generator, the MCC is equipped to go into communities where there has been a major disaster.
According to Randy Glenn, one of the leaders of the Disaster Response Team, the bus is designed to allow places without power to wirelessly connect, including police and fire departments.
The MCC Unit is also equipped to prepare 1500 meals three times a day, and is equipped with external showers as well. As Davies said, "Being able to eat and shower when you've lost everything can bring an enormous measure of comfort to families."
"No other insurance company has a mobile unit that can get to the scene of a disaster and get to work helping people restore their lives," Davies added.
According to Glenn, Farmers developed the MCC bus in response to Hurricane Katrina.
"Farmers executives saw the devastation that their policy holders were experiencing trying to come out of the devastation of Katrina and made a commitment to find a solution that would make weather disasters less stressful," Glenn said. "That's how these buses came about."
The MCC is one of three buses that are deployed to disaster sites throughout the United States to help customers and non-customers alike.
The vehicle, less bus than catastrophe response mobile unit, has been instrumental in helping restore disaster-struck communities across the country, especially after the tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri in May 2011, where 158 lives were lost and neighborhoods decimated.
"We went in with the MCC and began the work of helping the community and our policy holders start to rebuild their lives," Dan Riddell who man's the computer systems on the MCC said.
Glenn said that for Farmers policy holders, checks and debit cards can be issued right from the MCC which, during a time of crises, can bring enormous comfort to people.
Farmers Insurance is also hiring for its east coast offices located in Cherry Hill and Parsipanny. If you are interested in learning about employment opportunities with Farmers Insurance click here.