In 2017, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) responded to unprecedented disasters that affected more than 25 million Americans. The 2017 hurricane season produced 17 named storms, 10 of which became hurricanes (six of those major hurricanes), including the first two major hurricanes (Harvey and Irma) to hit the continental U.S. in 12 years. This year was also historic for wildfires across the western United States, included two of the most devastating to ever impact California; the Tubbs fire in the northern counties, and the Thomas fire, which gained the distinction of becoming the largest wildfire in modern California history.
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To help the record number of people affected by these disasters, FEMA obligated more than $7.2 billion in individual and public disaster assistance. The Public Assistance program helps repair infrastructure and reimburses state, local, tribal and territorial governments for clearing debris and rebuilding roads, schools, libraries, and other public infrastructure. The Individual Assistance program provides direct support to individuals and households in impacted areas. Nearly five million survivor households registered for the program last year, more than those for Hurricanes Rita, Wilma, Katrina and Sandy combined.
In order to efficiently and effectively help the record number of people seeking assistance, it was necessary for FEMA to increase its regular call center staffing levels tenfold. Survivor households needed an efficient, effective – and caring – source for information on how to register for assistance, check for updates and receive other support.
Ansafone was contracted as part of FEMA’s larger Program Management Office in order to conduct intake calls for survivors of hurricanes and other disasters. These callers were filling claims and applying for Federal assistance in the form of grants and loans. The engagement posed unique challenges that Ansafone responded to and solved quickly and effectively.
- Ansafone coordinated the creation of call center operations with more than 140 agents in less than one month.
- All agents were required to successfully pass Department of Homeland Security background checks and speak both English and Spanish.
- The mix of Tier-1 and Tier-2 trained professionals utilized the FEMA intranet and conformed to FEMA security standards for safeguarding personally identifiable information.
- With most callers requiring helpline or registration assistance for claims, the Project Management Office as a whole handled more than 2 million calls, and Ansafone took more than 40,000 of those.
Results & Benefits Working With FEMA
In addition to the high quantity of call and the performance of agents, Ansafone met strict KPIs regarding the number of lost and unanswered calls, the number of agents staffed, and overall quality scorecard.
- Ansafone maintained a score well above the required 92 percent on quality assurance evaluations.
- Ansafone is one of a handful of vendors who has remained on the project well into 2018, which speaks to the overall quality of service.
“I’ve found Ansafone to be professional and accommodating. I’m glad to have partnered with the company and would recommend their services and personnel to others.”
Project Manager, FEMA