As an insurance agent, you wear many hats. You're a protector and you're an advisor. You're also an educator, whether you see yourself as one or not. Whether you talk to clients individually about their home security, or you hold formal workshops, or create information pamphlets about their insurance concerns, you're not just there to sell insurance, you're there to make peoples' lives better. Hurricanes, floods, and other extreme weather events can play havoc with your clients' lives. As extreme weather changes the way people look at home safety, what can you do to make sure that your clients' homes are well-protected?
Encourage Them to Invest in Insurance
Home insurance rates are rising. In just a few years, rates have moved up by about a third. This is due to an increase in extreme weather events such as ice storms and flooding. A tree through a window might seem like a small claim, but if many people on the street make the same claim, this causes premiums to go up. Payouts have been doubling every 5-to-10 years since the 1980's. Rising premiums can lead your clients to forgo insurance or delay renewing their insurance. In your discussions and materials, you need to be clear about the benefits of having home insurance. What could happen if your clients neglect to renew their home insurance? Let clients know that you're there to talk with them and create financial plans if they're not able to pay their entire premium up front, and offer them discounted rates for early renewals.
Help Them Understand the Reasons Behind the Increase
If you provide education about the risks connected to older homes or homes in specific parts of town, they may decide to take action to lower their risk.
Rising insurance costs aren't just due to extreme weather. They're due to the combination of extreme weather, aging infrastructure, and larger homes. If your clients are concerned about the cost of insurance, let them know why those premiums are going up. Provide general public education about decisions they can make that will lead to lower insurance rates. For instance, you can look at the ways clients can invest in their older homes and reduce their rates or examine how homes on a flood plain could be more at risk than homes that are far away from a river. Your clients probably won't move just because their insurance premiums are rising, but if you provide education about the risks connected to older homes or homes in specific parts of town, they may decide to take action to lower their risk.
Lowering the Risk Through Preparation
How can your clients prepare their homes and reduce their insurance rates? There are many things that clients can do to make their homes safer. For example, if they live in a flood-prone area, they can get to know their home shut-off valves for gas and electricity. They can create a plan to move valuables and appliances to higher levels of the home. Over time, your clients can invest in flood protection, raising sockets and switches to above typical flood levels, raising outdoor equipment such as fuel tanks, installing backflow valves to prevent sewage from entering the home, and regrading the yard so that water flows away from the home. In a smaller disaster, retrofits like these can mean the different between a huge insurance bill and a modest one.
You can combine home insurance education with general emergency education. People want to know how to prepare their family members. They're curious about how to create a family evacuation plan and what to place in their home emergency kit in case they need to shelter in place. They want to know how they can create the best evacuation kit that will help their family stay comfortable in case of emergency. Pair your home safety information with information about family safety as well.
You're a small insurance agency, but you're an important force in your community. American Agents Alliance is here to support your agency as you connect with, educate, and assist your community. From networking events to insurance agent education, we have a wide range of membership benefits available to you. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.