You are here:HomeNews CenterThe Partnership News2009If Your Town Floods Is Your Conscience Covered? (Travelers' Flood Division)

If Your Town Floods Is Your Conscience Covered? (Travelers' Flood Division)

When offering flood insurance, a common refrain from customers is "I don't need it." Either they don't think they're at risk, they mistakenly believe...
January 28, 2009

By Chantal Cyr

When offering flood insurance, a common refrain from customers is "I don't need it."  Either they don't think they're at risk, they mistakenly believe they're already covered under their standard homeowners policy or they don't think flood insurance is worth the expense.  For agents, the next logical step is to convey the importance of flood coverage. Sharing some compelling flood facts is a good way to start a conversation. For example, according to Floodsmart.gov:

  • Floods are the number one natural disaster in the United States
  • Everyone lives in a flood zone
  • Floods and flash floods happen in all fifty states 
  • Most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage
  • Just one inch of water can cause significant and costly property damage 

But underscoring the necessity of flood insurance to customers isn't the only challenge.  In fact, the bigger obstacle often lies inside the agency itself.  There are some common agent misconceptions and oversights about flood insurance.  For instance, some agents say it's a difficult product to understand and quote.  If that sounds familiar, it's definitely time to get reacquainted with the product. Many carriers made it much easier to get a quote via updated automation and a dedicated on-line site to quote flood.  Some carriers make it easy to obtain a flood zone during the quoting process. And many offer flood continuing education courses to keep agents in synch with the changes in the flood program. 

Getting comfortable with the automation won't take long; changing agency culture to "always quote flood" could - unless it becomes a top agency priority.  In other words, agencies should be quoting flood with every homeowners policy.  If not, it's a missed revenue opportunity, but more importantly, it's a missed opportunity to ensure that your customers have the most comprehensive coverage available.   If the agency principal identifies flood insurance as a key component of quoting homeowners, the entire agency can feel good about offering comprehensive coverage and they'll have peace of mind knowing they made a sincere effort to educate customers about the importance of flood coverage.  The last thing you want is a flood in your hometown and wishing you had done more for your customers. 

Many agents put such an emphasis on flood insurance that they have customers sign a rejection form if they take a pass on coverage. That way, if the customer has a flood claim, they can't come back to the agent and say "I didn't know" or "You never told me."  The rejection form usually gives customers pause before they sign on the dotted line.

And while the quoting process is the natural opportunity to talk to customers about flood insurance, agencies can also take advantage of marketing material available through carriers.  Reaching out to customers at key times of the year serves a couple of purposes; it keeps you connected with your customers and serves as a reminder that they should once again consider flood coverage

In addition to agencies and carriers, there are other resources available for customers who'd like to learn more about flood insurance, especially customers who may be suspicious that agents are simply trying to upsell.  Suggest Floodsmart.gov to your customers.  The site is easy to navigate and has helpful interactive features.  Customers can type in their address and learn their property's flood risk.  They can also get a ballpark figure on what flood insurance might cost. 

We've all seen video of neighborhoods and communities literally underwater. We've all heard homeowners upset and devastated because they didn't have flood coverage.  There's a lot we can do now, before the water comes, to help protect our customers. A good place to start is always asking for the business.

Chantal Cyr, vice president, Travelers' Flood Division.  Cyr has more than 21 years of experience with Travelers.

 

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