Providing Security After a Tragedy

Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Lisa Marie DeSanto

Every relocation program is unique, requiring close attention to all details to ensure our clients’ satisfaction and our mutual success. Some moves, however, stand out as particularly challenging. During these situations, our employees take great pride in providing innovative, caring and customized solutions to our clients and their employees. The following is one of many of these stories. 

Providing Security After a Tragedy

When a fire ravaged one of Dubai's tallest residential buildings, hundreds of people lost their homes and possessions. Years before, SIRVA’s Director of Global Account Management, Jennifer Castagna, had experienced a similar loss, first hand. Needless to say, when she received a call at 1am on a Saturday asking her to help a client find three employees who had fled the building, and then find them new homes, she was uniquely prepared to orchestrate the process.

When tenants are forced to flee a building quickly, they don’t always have the time to take their cell phones. Once they’ve reached safety, however, they typically contact family or friends to confirm their safety. With this in mind, Jennifer consulted client and SIRVA data systems to determine who the employees’ emergency contacts were and began tracking each of them down. Once she confirmed that all three were safe and sound, the next step was to get each checked into a hotel, where they would spend a few weeks while Jennifer worked out the financial and legal details of releasing their employer from the leases associated with the damaged building.  

Simultaneously, Jennifer and her team worked closely with the client to provide emergency lump sum payments to the employees, so they could replenish some clothes and necessities until their rental insurance claims were approved. Home-finding visits were arranged and extra time was allotted to help each employee and his/her family avoid the sense of pressure that naturally came with the heightened sense of urgency following any disaster.

The process was complicated, requiring communicative collaboration between temporary housing vendors within SIRVA’s network, emergency response teams, the client’s mobility and security teams, local authorities and SIRVA’s Dubai-based Direct Delivery Destination Provider team. Thanks to a trusted network, the skilled expertise of Jennifer’s team, and SIRVA’s Dubai team, each employee’s family was safely found, provided with the means to replace their replaceable possessions, and relocated to a new home within three weeks of the fire.

“Anything you lose in a house fire becomes precious,” said Jennifer, “especially if those items represent pieces of home that were brought on an assignment. At times like that it’s crucial for mobility professionals to validate what each victim is going through and provide compassion.”

To ensure that the stress level of each employee and accompanying family member was minimized during this difficult time, that’s exactly what Jennifer, her team, and the client’s team did – come up with solutions that went above and beyond to provide each employee and accompanying family member with everything they needed during a difficult time.

The Face Behind the Story:

Jennifer Castagna, Director, Global Account Management, SIRVAjennifer-castagna

Jennifer Castagna is an Account Director, overseeing and managing complex tri-regional engagements with truly diverse portfolios. She’s been with SIRVA for 5 years, but in the relocation industry for over 13, in both account management and operational roles. She is based out of her home in West Haven, Connecticut. Prior to working with SIRVA, Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Public Relations from Western Connecticut State University. 

When Jennifer isn’t sitting at her desk assisting clients, she enjoys travelling. So far, after visiting 10 countries, Paris is her favorite city among them, though she looks forward to purchasing her retirement home in Cape Cod. Jennifer also loves to spend time with family and friends and reading a good book – along with a glass of good French wine!