A climate-related disaster can hit at any moment without warning, but an agent's preparedness can provide individuals with much needed security at an uncertain time. People want to know that their material assets are protected and during an unforeseen crisis, this is even more critical. Insurance agents must communicate with their clients effectively, whether it's about the client's policy or about delivering safety information.
Although some events can’t be predicted, if you or your clients live in an at-risk area that experiences severe weather conditions, you can enact some preventive measures. You should have a plan in place to provide guidance if something unexpected should occur. Developing a clear strategy, understanding your clients, and leveraging technology to remove bottlenecks that otherwise would delay information will streamline a chaotic event.
Identify vulnerable geographic locations
An agent can’t predict disaster, but certain areas - such as California - are more prone to massive fires, while areas such Texas have experienced blizzards and widespread power outages. Agents should prepare themselves by using this information and historical trends to better serve their clients in disaster-prone areas.
Assessing your book of business and conducting an initial intake of your customers, grouping them by location, can be key to preparing yourself and clients for any situation. After you determine the disaster-prone locations are determined, preparing tailored messages to those clients is a necessity. Having ready-to-go climate-related emergency messaging for areas of concern allows agents to easily distribute relevant, timely information. Creating a detailed plan of how to distribute this information is also critical as some situations could leave clients without access to desktops or even the internet.
Communicate relevant and timely information
Agents when preparing for, or in the middle of a crisis, must know what type of information is critical for impacted clients. Communicating policy information is top priority and can bring clients peace of mind when they understand their protection in relation to current events. Potential safety information, and disaster preparedness should also be included. Accurate and timely communications will be critical, and providing this to your clients within hours will be just as important.
How an agent handles these types of situations will affect the longevity of their client relationships. Clients want to feel protected by their agents and communication goes a long way toward proving an agent’s worth.
Depending on location, annual weather trends will dictate the contents of your messages. For example, if your service area routinely experiences wildfires, evacuation messaging and tips on what an emergency bag should contain can help clients stay safe and be ready.
If your area experiences a long-term power outage, your clients will need to know how to survive in their homes with no power for several days. Keeping your websites and online portals up to date with safety tips also can help reach a wide range of your clients and prospects who are looking for an agent they can rely on. Instantaneous communication should provide clients with existing coverage details, but this can be made more difficult if agents are attempting to carry out this process manually.
Leveraging tech streamlines information distribution
The most important thing clients need from their agents during a climate-related disaster is clear communication delivered quickly. Agents with a large book of business need to be able to reach all at-risk clients during an emergency. Those who have to manually contact each client impacted would have to scan through sheets to identify these individuals, then manually contact each one, which could take days if not weeks.
Technology can easily produce a list of those impacted within a region then send messages to those individuals within the matter of hours, maybe even minutes. For clients who have access only to their mobile devices, pushing information about policies and safety through online platforms can assure that information is reaching them. Using technology helps during an emergency, but also in any following communications after the initial disaster settles. Automating the process will allow agents to streamline the process, answer questions faster and tend to any incoming claims that clients are submitting.
As agents, it is important to be there for your clients every step of the way. Using technology to ensure safety information has reached your clients is key to preparing your business for serving your clients in any situation. You can never predict when disaster will hit, but by readying yourself and your clients, and leveraging technology, you can face any situation as it comes.
Joel Zwicker is chief evangelist at Agency Revolution. He may be contacted at [email protected].