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With natural disasters, timely and efficient response is critical to those in financial need

Four ways agencies can prepare for crises

As warmer weather approaches, so do the stormy summer months that bring damaging wind, water, and fire. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations’ (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information, in 2022, there were 18 federally declared disasters each with damage and costs exceeding $1 billion. And over the past 10 years, the number of $1 billion damage-causing storms has increased.

State and local government officials eye each storm season with concern. In the span of hours or even minutes, a natural disaster or other crisis can bring a community to its knees, necessitating quick response and rapid relief to ensure recovery. Many government agencies lack a proper system to ensure quick delivery of relief, often relying on slow, paper check processes that can take days to deliver — or worse, those checks go undelivered if a home address no longer exists.

Conduent's Rapid Assistance Solution securely speeds up the distribution to a matter of minutes and simplifies the process.

The chaos and damage of natural disasters lead to loss of homes and businesses. Often responding and remediating to a disaster event is done reactively, sending relief to those over the course of weeks. Federal, state and local agencies leverage a complex network of processes and systems to distribute relief.

For agencies, preparation and implementation for fast-response assistance delivery requires attention to four critical areas:

  • Have a plan, early: Finding qualified collaborators, engaging them before a storm strikes, and laying the groundwork for relief distribution will enable you to implement relief distribution much faster, speeding aid to individuals instantly in many cases.
  • Focus on speed and flexibility: Consider the needs of your constituents, including the benefits of fast, digital payments rather than paper checks. Consider how to deliver relief if physical addresses are unavailable after a crisis.
  • Streamline your processes: Identify solutions that can work with and be customized to your existing processes and workflows so not to add unnecessary complexity.
  • Beware of fraud: Payment processes and the agencies that administer them are frequent targets of fraud. Tokenized payments can help you better collect and store sensitive constituent information, and built-in security at the network and application level provides enhanced protection for individuals and agencies alike.

Timely response following a natural disaster is critical. Conduent's Rapid Assistance Solution provides a secure, end-to-end solution to swiftly distribute relief to people in crisis.

Conduent's Rapid Assistance Solution helps agencies eliminate wait times with instant transfers, meaning that people in need can receive funds fast either by debit card or through direct deposit – often in minutes rather than days. Rapid Assistance Solution transfers funds quickly via a third-party payments processor widely trusted by leading banks and financial institutions. Verified, secure payments help reduce fraud and lower administrative costs associated with slow paper processes and mail delivery.

For state and local agencies, the best time to prepare for any crisis is now.

Discover why more than 600 government entities count on Conduent as a strategic partner. Contact us today to learn how Conduent’s Rapid Assistance Solution can help your agency prepare for the next natural disaster.

About the Author

Kathy Mertes joined Conduent in early 2022 as Executive Leader of Conduent’s Digital Payments Strategy and Solution. In keeping with Conduent’s corporate strategy, she is shaping the transformational role that payments can bring to Conduent’s enterprise suite of solutions by removing payment friction in a comprehensive, innovative fashion. In her nearly 30 years in the industry, Kathy has coupled her banking expertise with client needs in a wide range of industries from government, corporate, healthcare and beyond –– spanning credit card fraud prevention, innovating consumer payments at a top National University, leading product and operational responsibilities for money markets and asset management accounts at a brokerage firm. Most recently, Kathy has led key strategic teams at BNY Mellon Treasury Services. Kathy has been a featured speaker at various key industry events such as NACHA and IBTTA and is pleased to provide leadership as a member of The Clearing House (TCH) Corporate Advisory Group.

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