How producers can help
Despite and certainly because of the challenges facing Florida’s homeowners insurance market, there are things we can do as insurance consumers and as the insurance professionals who serve them, to make 2021 a better year for all. While it certainly includes getting the best priced coverage, it also has to do with the right coverage and better empowering your customers now and in the long-run.
I had an interesting conversation just before the holidays with Amy O’Connor of the Insurance Journal and Carol Williams, a strategy and risk consultant for insurance companies, on the qualities insurance consumers need to have in this New Year to get the most out of their insurance. We recorded it as the latest podcast on The Florida Insurance Roundup, aptly named “2021’s Insurance Consumer.”
Amy, who many of you read and know as the Journal’s Southeast Editor and Associate Editor of MyNewMarkets.com, said having an agent advocate is going to be more important than ever this year. “I’m hearing a lot of stories of people not getting coverage renewed, huge rate increases, coverage being scaled down,” she said. Consumers may not understand what they’re losing. She advises them to look at the policy and make sure they understand it or find someone who can help. “The age of your home, the condition of your roof, all these things are going to be important to consider as you move forward into renewing existing policy or going with another company,” said Amy, who has covered the Florida insurance beat for the past six years.
Insurance companies are also being more proactive to help inform and educate consumers. Carol, who is Founder and CEO of Strategic Decision Solutions based in Tallahassee, said that includes better, clearer communication with policyholders, as well as advanced strategies to combat insurance fraud by third-party contractors and an increase in lawsuits. She noted that a growing number of insurance companies are starting their own repair programs, with a network of contractors ready to respond quickly to a policyholder’s claim.
“Something that a lot of consumers overlook in thinking that the insurance companies are only out for themselves, is that the insurance company has skin in the game for making sure that your home is repaired correctly because they are still on the risk. They will still be providing coverage to you after the claim. They want to make sure it’s being done right,” said Carol, who is an 18 year veteran of the insurance industry.
We also discussed COVID-19 and the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on insurance practices – and will continue to have in the future. You can listen to the podcast here or read the Show Notes and check out the resources mentioned in this timely conversation.
LMA Newsletter of 1-4-21