Each year, millions of Americans are required by law to purchase flood insurance to cover their properties, above and beyond what they have to pay for their standard home insurance policies. However, many may not know why that is, or why the cost for doing so is continually on the rise, and may therefore be upset about how much it costs to pay all their various premiums each year. For this reason, insurance agents might need to start doing a little more to help people understand the ins and outs of coverage, why it costs what it does, and what they can do to better protect themselves going forward.
As of April 1, the latest round of rate increases for many people required to buy policies through the National Flood Insurance Program went into effect, according to a report from the New York Times. People in the areas that are at greatest risk could end up seeing rates rise by as much as 25 percent. But beyond that, all policyholders will now be hit with new surcharges; $25 if the property is a person’s primary residence, and $250 for secondary homes.
Currently, the average NFIP insurance premium in the U.S. is about $650 per year, the report said. Some 5.2 million people have such coverage, of which about 1 million will be hit with these rate hikes.
Why is this happening?
It’s not necessarily that there’s an increased risk of damage, but rather that the NFIP has been on some very shaky ground in the last several years, the report said. By boosting costs, it can potentially ensure solvency in the event of a far more major incident – on the level of Hurricanes Katrina or Sandy – causing as much as billions of dollars worth of damages.
The news of rising home insurance rates isn’t likely to be greeted with cheers by people who have many other financial concerns, and therefore it’s the agents who are the best at keeping lines of communication open that will typically have the most success in dealing with their clients. Studies have shown that people actually prefer to just have a good relationship with their agent and insurer, even over the ability to save money with the occasional discount. Consequently, the most proactive agents will usually have the highest customer satisfaction ratings, as well as the best client retention rates.