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Disclaimer: Earthquake preparedness Information in this article is observational in nature. It is not intended to be a substitute for general safety recommendations from your local first responders. Information is not intended to serve as legal advice, e.g., for adhering to workplace compliance requirements around safety. Please consult appropriate authorities and use the information in this article at your own risk.
Earthquakes can be sudden and devastating. We tuck away supplies and make preparations in the event one occurs. The same mentality should be taken into account for business earthquake preparedness. With the right plan, you can reduce the severe financial damage in the aftermath of an earthquake. It’s important how a business prepares because it can require separate and sometimes unpredictable policies.
Unlike hurricanes or fires, earthquakes can come rapidly and leave little time to react. Earthquakes quickly affect the people and property within an office. It’s still important to have an earthquake preparedness plan. Taking steps like making safety upgrades to a building, ensuring that employees know best practices for protecting themselves when an earthquake occurs, and having an insurance policy that mitigates financial damage.
We’ll dive into how insurance agents can increase the likelihood clients get the coverage they need. Ensuring they know how to make claims and understand where to find earthquake preparedness information. In doing so, you can help both new and existing clients prepare for these difficult events. Then you can form deeper ties to increase client retention.
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Walk Business Owners Through Coverage Options
Small business owners may not initially understand what is covered when it comes to earthquakes affecting their business properties. Insurance agents should walk business owners through the following areas:
Commercial property insurance might not be enough. Small business owners may assume they’re covered, but often earthquakes necessitate separate coverage. Even if clients know that they need a separate earthquake policy, they may still want help understanding the different coverage options to know what they could be liable for.
Insurance agents should clearly explain what a policy includes in terms of earthquake coverage. Make sure clients understand whether a policy covers physical damage from an earthquake, but not lost income from an office being closed. If there are multiple coverage options, try to help clients navigate the differences between these policies. This way they can choose the one that fits their risk tolerance.
It’s also critical to help business owners understand what they need to do to qualify for a policy. You don’t want your client to file for separate earthquake coverage only to learn that their building is uninsurable.
“Your business property may have to undergo an inspection and upgrades before you can qualify for earthquake insurance,” explains the Insurance Information Institute. This can include changes like having your building “structure bolted to its foundation. You may also be required to brace chimneys and walls, as well as make other improvements.”
Make Sure Clients Know How to Make Earthquake Claims
A big part of earthquake preparedness is knowing how to make the claims in the event an earthquake takes place.
In the immediate aftermath, clients will face enough stress dealing with destroyed property and the emotional fallout. No one wants to go through a complex process to receive the money they need to rebuild. To be truly prepared, the time to know how to make an earthquake claim is before an earthquake happens.
Insurance agents should have a clear onboarding process. It should help clients pick the right coverage and walk them through how to make a claim. Preparatory steps like documenting property, understanding what forms to submit, and whether the process can be done online will go a long way. It’s better to take a little extra time in advance rather than deal with this complexity for the first time when an earthquake occurs.
Provide Earthquake Preparedness Resources
You can help your clients be more prepared by making sure they are as informed as possible. Some ways that insurance agents can help include:
- Sharing links to relevant resources: Through channels like your website, email and social media, you can share links to relevant resources, like those from Ready, a national public service campaign.
State or local governments may also put out resources of their own that you can share, which could include tips on what to do before, during and after an earthquake. By putting this information in front of clients, you can increase the likelihood that they’ll develop an earthquake preparedness plan.
State or local governments might also have apps that provide a few seconds of warning that you can point your clients toward. These few seconds may not seem like much, but it could give individuals within an office a chance to get into a safer position.
- Providing advice from other clients or agents: Consider sharing advice or relevant resources from other clients or insurance agents.
For example, if you have a large network that includes knowing insurance agents in several earthquake-prone areas in a state like California, then perhaps they already have resources handy that they can point you toward. You can then share that information with clients who might still be at risk for an earthquake but perhaps work in an area where earthquakes are less frequent, so preparation steps generally aren’t as widely known.
You may have some clients who either experienced earthquakes and/or have thoroughly prepared for them. In that case, you may be able to share lessons that these other businesses have learned to help new business owners know what to do in terms of earthquake preparedness.
Check-in With Existing Clients
New prospects might appreciate you taking the time to help them develop an earthquake preparedness plan, but it’s also important to check in with existing clients about this issue. That can go a long way toward building and maintaining strong client relationships.
For example, when your current clients are considering renewing their commercial property insurance policies, you may want to specify what would be covered in the event of an earthquake. This might be the time to recommend additional coverage. These business owners could be unaware of earthquake coverage when they initially signed up for a policy with you. Or circumstances have changed, like if they’re considering opening up a new location in a more earthquake-prone area.
Whatever the case may be, helping your current clients understand their options can make them feel more prepared. Even if they don’t decide to purchase additional coverage at that time, discussing this issue can lead you to gain a deeper understanding of your current clients and their goals for the future.
Taking the time to discuss earthquake preparedness with both new and existing clients can help you sell more coverage and form deeper ties with these business owners.