Texas Floods Worrisome for Insurance Industry

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    When floodwaters rise in various parts of the country, many consumers may be safe in the knowledge that, even if their homes are affected, the coverage they have through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program will protect them financially. However, there may be a number of problems with that presumption, including the fact that the NFIP may be a little more stressed than it ought to be. As such, it might be wise for insurance agents who deal with consumers’ standard home coverage policies to talk to them about the risks they may face in these instances, and what they might be able to do to better protect themselves going forward.

    The flooding that recently hit Texas highlights why these kinds of plans are so vital to homeowners, according to a report from the International Business Times. Many in the affected areas had robust flood insurance that would cover their homes up to a value of $250,000, but the fact is that a lot of them will likely be total losses, given just how damaging the flooding was. Meanwhile, it falls to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assess the damage as quickly as possible to help those Americans who are now in rather precarious situations.

    Multiple issues
    But right now, FEMA seems to have little control over the insurers that deal with these policies directly, to the point that many working for the NFIP are concerned, the report said. Only about 75 people actually work for the latter agency, despite the fact that it oversees some 5.3 million policies nationwide. Those who used to work for the organization say its capabilities to identify potentially problematic situations before they become disastrous has escaped them almost entirely.

    The way the NFIP handled flood claims is becoming problematic, through no fault of its own.The way the NFIP handles flood claims is becoming problematic, through no fault of its own.

    Efforts are now apparently being made to shore up the issue, but that likely isn’t going to be any sort of salve to those already affected by major incidents, the report said. For instance, many are still dealing with the fallout from Hurricane Sandy making landfall in New York and New Jersey, and it’s been years since that storm hit. Certainly, this presents a difficult situation with no easy answers, but experts say that more needs to be done on the part of the federal government so that when problems do arise, they can be handled as efficiently and successfully as possible.

    What can agents do in the meantime?
    While NFIP coverage has nothing to do with standard home insurance plans, the fact of the matter is that many Americans don’t know that, and may in fact think they’re protected from floods simply by having a regular home policy. That’s why insurance agents may need to do a little more to ensure that people know the ins and outs of their policies, and what they do and don’t cover. Armed with that extra knowledge, agents and consumers alike may be able to enjoy a better working relationship, which, as far as agents are concerned, can lead to better rates of retention, and high customer satisfaction ratings.