Springing into Action

As spring approaches, insurance agents must gear up to address the unique challenges and risks that come with the changing season. From increased flooding to unpredictable storms and a surge in outdoor activities, the springtime presents a myriad of potential hazards for both clients and insurers. In this article, we’ll delve into specific risks associated with spring and offer proactive strategies for insurance agents to mitigate these risks and protect their clients’ interests. But don’t forget about protecting your agency by utilizing good risk management practices.

Understanding Springtime Risks

  1. Increased Flooding: Spring showers and melting snow can lead to rising water levels, increasing the risk of flooding in many areas. Flood damage is not typically covered under standard homeowners’ insurance policies, making it essential for homeowners to obtain separate flood insurance coverage.
  2. Unpredictable Storms: Spring is notorious for its volatile weather patterns, including severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hailstorms. These storms can cause significant property damage, including roof damage, broken windows, and structural issues. Columbus recently experienced its own tornado just last week, and insurance companies are receiving an influx of reported claims.
  3. Rise in Outdoor Activities: With warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours, spring encourages people to engage in outdoor activities such as gardening, sports, and recreational outings. However, these activities can also lead to accidents and injuries, potentially resulting in liability claims.

Proactive Risk Management Strategies

  1. Educate Clients on Flood Insurance:
    • Encourage clients to assess their flood risk, especially if they live in flood-prone areas or near bodies of water.
    • Explain the importance of purchasing flood insurance and clarify that it is not included in standard homeowners’ policies.
    • Offer flood insurance options and provide guidance on selecting appropriate coverage limits based on the client’s needs and risk exposure.
  1. Document Coverage Discussions:
    • When clients choose to forgo flood insurance coverage, ensure that they understand the implications and risks involved.
    • Use a coverage rejection form to document these discussions, outlining the coverage offered and the client’s decision to decline it.
    • By obtaining signed documentation, agents can mitigate the risk of errors and omissions claims related to coverage disputes or misunderstandings.
  1. Promote Risk Mitigation Measures:
    • Provide clients with practical tips for mitigating springtime risks, such as clearing gutters and downspouts, securing outdoor furniture, and trimming trees and branches.
    • Emphasize the importance of proactive maintenance and preparedness in reducing the likelihood of property damage and insurance claims.
  1. Review and Update Policies:
    • Schedule policy reviews with clients to ensure their coverage adequately addresses their evolving needs and risks.
    • Consider recommending additional coverage options, such as umbrella liability insurance, to provide extra protection against unforeseen liabilities arising from springtime activities. Remember to have your clients sign a coverage rejection letter if they decide against purchasing these recommended additional coverages.

As insurance agents, it’s crucial to anticipate and address the seasonal risks that spring brings. By proactively educating clients, offering appropriate coverage options, and implementing risk management strategies, agents can help mitigate potential losses and safeguard their clients’ financial security. Remember, effective communication and thorough documentation are key to minimizing errors and omissions exposure, ensuring both clients and agents are well-protected during the unpredictable spring season.

About the Author:

Ashley Riley is the Director of Risk Management for Ohio Insurance Agents. She is responsible for helping independent agents protect one of their most significant assets, their businesses. Ashley is a seasoned professional with two decades of invaluable experience in the insurance industry with a track record that spans claims handling, underwriting, and adeptly leading the Agency Services team at OIA.

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