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    Are Your Homeowner’s Insurance Clients Prepared for Hurricane Season?

    I’ll be honest, when Winter Storm Uri—or as I like to call it, the Snowpocalypse—hit Texas back in February, I wasn’t prepared. None of us in the state, from families to employers to energy companies, were prepared.

    The thing is, it usually doesn’t get that cold in Texas. This year was the first time either of my kids had ever even seen a snow shovel, much less have to use one. Water pipes and other critical infrastructure elements down here are only built to withstand mild winters. We don’t know how to drive when it freezes because it’s not supposed to get below freezing and stay there for over a week in Texas.

    Except, it did.

    The frequency, scale, and dollars in damage caused by natural disasters are increasing at a startling rate due to the effects of climate change. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admiration, (NOAA), the 2020 hurricane season broke all previous records with 30 named storms and 12 landfalling storms striking the U.S. This made 2020 the fifth consecutive year with an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.

    The unfortunate fact is, floods and other natural disasters are becoming commonplace. As an insurance agent, you know that giving your clients peace of mind is a big part of your job. In this blog post, I’ll let you know what forecasters are predicting for the upcoming 2021 hurricane season, and give you some critical information you can share with your clients about making sure they have proper flood protection in place.

    Experts Predict Another Above-Average Atlantic Hurricane Season in 2021

    Colorado State University hurricane researchers are predicting an above-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2021, citing the likely absence of El Niño as a primary factor. Subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are much warmer than their long-term average values, which also favors an active 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

    Preparing Your Insureds for Hurricane Season

    Do your clients know that flood damage is not covered by homeowners insurance? As the person responsible for securing your clients’ peace of mind by making sure their home and property are covered in an unfortunate scenario, you want to make sure they don’t get caught unaware. Encouraging your clients to prepare for hurricane season and other potential flood damage by obtaining flood insurance will reassure them that you’re looking out for their best interests.

    Consider reaching out to your insured clients to provide the following information about coverage offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and private market flood insurance.

    National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

    Through the NFIP, flood insurance rates are set based on the level of risk of a true flood to the property. Coverage is available for up to $100,000 for personal property and contents and up to $250,000 for the residential dwelling. The amount of coverage your clients choose to purchase will be an influential factor in how much their policy will cost. Once the price of their policy is determined, it will not fluctuate from company to company or agent to agent; it is a set rate. One thing to keep in mind is that an NFIP flood insurance policy is only available in participating communities; however, most communities do participate.

    Private Market Flood Insurance

    Private market flood insurance does not have sanctioned coverage limits; therefore, the limits can vary from company to company. In many cases, insurance carriers can offer full coverage for the reconstruction of a residential dwelling and replacement of personal contents, compared to $100,000 for personal property and contents and up to $250,000 for the residential dwelling available under NFIP. The available comprehensive options allow a homeowner to add coverage for exposures; such as detached structures, swimming pools, basements, and outdoor property.

    Excess Flood Insurance

    If your client’s home does exceed the coverage limits put into place by NFIP and private market flood insurance, excess flood insurance is an option available to homeowners to ensure their home and all of their belongings are covered. An excess flood insurance policy provides additional coverage over the amount NFIP or private market flood insurance insures for; these maximum coverage amounts may vary by insurance provider but are available into the millions of dollars for both home and contents.

    Hopefully, your clients will never have to use their flood insurance. However, if I learned anything from the Snowpocalypse of 2021, in the event of a worst-case scenario, it’s always best to be prepared.

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    Tyreo Harrison

    As Executive Vice President, B2C Channel Development, Tyreo Harrison enables referral partners and financial institutions to offer personal, commercial and surplus lines insurance products to increase non-interest income, improve borrower retention and add value to their service offering. He maintains his General Lines Agent Licenses for Property and Casualty, Life, Accident, Health, and HMO. He is a graduate of the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Leadership Lab and in 2008 was named as one of the San Antonio Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Rising Stars. Prior to joining SWBC in 2005, Tyreo played professional football for the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers.

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