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Natural disasters like hurricanes can be unexpected, devastating events for small business owners, but with the right preparation, their damage can be mitigated. Aside from the physical preparations that small business owners might make, such as reinforcing windows in hurricane-prone areas, insurance agents can help them prepare in terms of financial risk management.
In particular, strong insurance coverage can help mitigate the financial fallout that small business owners might otherwise face from hurricanes. Yet simply selling a small business owner a policy often isn’t enough to make them feel prepared. They need to understand their coverage and risk fully, such as by knowing:
- What their insurance policies cover and don’t cover as it relates to hurricanes
- How they would go about making a claim if need be
- What they can do to adjust coverage if they feel their risk/financial situation has changed
- How they can bounce back following a natural disaster
In this guide, we’ll explore how insurance agents can help small business owners in this regard, thereby helping agents build even stronger long-term relationships with clients.
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Help Clients Understand Coverage
No one knows exactly what damage a hurricane will cause, but it can still be helpful for small business owners to understand their coverage. They should fully understand financial details such as their:
- Full coverage limits
Moreover, small business owners should know specifically what types of events are and aren’t covered. For example, a business owner may have protection for physical damage like flooding caused by hurricanes, but they might not realize whether they’re protected for business continuity issues like a third-party data center having to be temporarily shut down due to a hurricane.
Some clients in areas that don’t get hurricanes often may not even think about these types of issues until one unexpectedly hits, and by then it can be too late. So insurance agents can be proactive and offer to help small business owners understand their coverage fully so that they can then decide whether they have an acceptable level of risk.
The more upfront that insurance agents can be with clients about what different policies cover, the better. While insurers want to mitigate their own risk in terms of the financial payouts they might have to provide due to hurricane damage, that doesn’t mean they should be opaque and difficult to work with, especially when a hurricane does strike.
Agents should not compromise their long-term relationships with clients or their firm’s overall reputation for short-term gain. Instead, being honest with clients about their risk and coverage can go a long way toward earning renewals and referrals that fuel long-term growth.
Be Ready to Answer Questions
Small business owners may have a lot of questions about how they can protect their companies from hurricanes and what they should do in the event one strikes. Insurance agents should have answers to common questions readily available, or they should know where to turn to in order to find the right information for specific clients.
If many small business owners ask the same types of questions about preparing for a hurricane, you may want to create an FAQ section about this on your website. Or you could create a dedicated landing page with tips about preparing for hurricanes and details on how to understand their coverage. That landing page could then include a contact form for small business owners to get in touch with agents for more specific questions.
Some insurers may even decide to set up a hotline for customers to call with questions following a hurricane. Planning in advance for this type of support now can make clients feel more at ease if and when a disaster does occur.
Make Claims Easy
In addition to helping small business owners prepare for hurricanes by understanding their coverage, insurance agents should also aim to make the claims process easy. Doing so can include walking clients ahead of time through how they would go about making a claim if need be, which could help them feel more prepared and comfortable for whenever a hurricane does eventually hit.
Insurance agents can also make claims easy such as by leveraging technology to simplify the process.
Using InsurTech for Insurance Claims
Following a hurricane, small business owners will have enough to worry about besides getting through to their insurer to handle a claim. And in the aftermath of these events, insurers may become overwhelmed with client queries and claims documents to be able to get to each and every one of their customers in a timely manner.
As such, it can be useful for insurers to implement InsurTech tools that help automate parts or even all of the claims process in some cases. For example, instead of having agents answer every question about claims manually, an InsurTech solution might be able to provide automated responses to frequently asked questions. A client may ask what paperwork they need to submit, and the InsurTech solution may be able to help automatically answer that or even review initial documents to then help small business owners figure out what else they need to do to quickly file a claim. Some InsurTech solutions can even automate claims approvals.
Not only can automation help improve customer experience, especially during an otherwise difficult time for clients, but it can also help insurers improve their operations too. “Automation can reduce the cost of a claims journey by as much as 30 percent,” notes McKinsey.
Offer Additional Support
Helping clients understand their coverage and making the claims process as straightforward as possible can go a long way toward mitigating the damage from hurricanes that small business owners might face. But there are also ways to provide additional business support, such as through:
As small businesses understand their coverage and associated risk related to hurricanes, they may decide to expand their policy, either to cover new areas or increase limits. Agents can walk business owners through these options to help them find the coverage they’re comfortable with.
Using an InsurTech tool like Wheelhouse can also help in this regard. Agents can set up landing pages targeted directly toward small business owners who may be considering adding coverage to mitigate risk related to hurricanes. From there, these small business owners can gain bindable quotes online at any time, so they can quickly gain the support they need to feel prepared, without necessarily having to wait until an agent is available to provide a quote.
Providing Business Advice
If a hurricane does hit a client, insurance agents can add value by providing business advice to business owners. For example, you might put together content as part of your marketing plan that includes sales or operational advice on building a business back up following a natural disaster. Perhaps you’ve had clients who’ve gone through these experiences who would be willing to share their stories to help other business owners. To that point, you could even help small business owners network with one another to get through difficult events like hurricanes.
Altogether, offering these services and support can help small business owners feel more prepared to weather the storm. Even if a disaster does occur, the business/financial ramifications can be lessened with the help of insurance agents.