Tips every insurance agent should tell their clients about flood

While the “April showers,” are just getting started this spring, don’t be fooled. There are rumors of a great deal of precipitation yet to come, due to northern snowmelt and a meteorological phenomenon known as the Pineapple Express — not to be confused with the 2008 movie starring Seth Rogan, James Franco and Gary Cole.

pineapple

Named after the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii, where pineapples are grown, the Pineapple Express is a relatively common weather pattern that brings southwest winds to the Pacific Northwest or California, along with warm, moist air. This pattern can produce days of heavy rain, which can cause extensive floods. The warm air can also melt snow in the mountains, further aggravating flooding.

Although the Pineapple Express seems to target certain geographic regions, it’s of the utmost importance for your clients to understand:

  1. Floods happen everywhere. In the past five years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. According to FEMA, 25 percent of all flood damage occurs in low to moderate flood risk areas. Business owners should not rely on a line on a flood zone map for protection.
  2. Most business insurance policies exclude flood damage. Only flood insurance pays qualified claims quickly, so a business owner can get back to business. For the latest on flood insurance reforms, see the NFIP Update we shared last month.
  3. It is estimated that 40 percent of small businesses will close their doors permanently after a flood disaster.

The moral of this story: help your clients prepare today for the possible flood that could be at their doorstep tomorrow.

Ninety percent of natural disasters are flood related. From 2010 to 2014, the average commercial flood claim amounted to nearly $89,000. That kind of money can be an overwhelming loss to any business. But with the right coverage and forethought, your clients can increase their odds at reclaiming their business if the worst does happen.

Below are some helpful tips to share when discussing flood coverage:

  • Business Property Risk: high-risk or moderate- to low-risk. As a business owner, they should take the time to determine the risk associated with their property’s elevation and location in relation to a floodplain and local water sources.

If a business is located in a high-risk flood zone, they should not put off reviewing their flood insurance options. There could be a waiting period as long as 30 days for this type of policy to go into affect.

  • Know What’s Covered. It is in their best interest to become educated on what a comprehensive flood insurance policy does and doesn’t cover, such as vehicles and equipment, property damage, cause of damage, loss of revenue, etc.
  • Mandatory Requirements. Businesses with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders in high-risk flood areas are required to have flood insurance. While flood insurance is not federally required, if a business is located in a moderate-to-low risk flood area, it is still strongly recommended.
  • Flood Preparedness. As part of their flood planning, business owners should consider taking measures to make the property watertight or installing pumps, if their building is in an area susceptible to floods. They should also regularly check and clean the drainage systems in and around the property.
  • Contingency Planning. Develop a plan to limit losses and continue operating during and after a flood, including the possibility of moving critical employees to another location.

Don’t assume your clients understand that flood insurance can only be purchased through an insurance agent. Your proactive outreach may the difference between them weathering the storm or having their business sunk by floodwaters.

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