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Prepare your clients for flood risks as hurricane season approaches

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This article is provided as a service of the National Flood Insurance Program's FloodSmart team. 

The start of the Atlantic hurricane season is right around the corner, and your clients may not realize that they are at risk.

Heavy rains, flash floods, and storm surge all increase the risk of flooding during hurricane season, whether you live on the coast or hundreds of miles inland. Now is the time to have the flood talk with your clients to ensure that they are financially covered with flood insurance.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the “Big Four” of 2004, when four hurricanes affected Florida for the first time in recorded history. Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne are four hurricanes that Florida residents will not soon forget.

The lessons these storms taught can help make a difference in the way clients prepare for hurricane season—including the importance of purchasing flood insurance.

  • Hurricane Charley taught us to prepare for the unexpected. The storm was upgraded from a Category 2 to a Category 4 hurricane just as it was about to make landfall, where it caused extensive wind and water damage.
  • Hurricane Frances demonstrated the power and longevity of a hurricane, causing destruction along the coast and inland flooding as it dumped up to 16 inches of rain in parts of North Florida. In addition, Frances produced 101 tornadoes, making it the second-highest number of tornadoes as a result of a tropical cyclone. Frances was a reminder to everyone that hurricanes do not affect just coastal areas.
  • Hurricane Ivan showed us just how large and intense a hurricane can be. At its peak, it was the size of Texas, and ranks as the 10th strongest Atlantic hurricane on record. According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Ivan produced up to 15 feet of storm surge along the Gulf Coast and resulted in more than $7 million in National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) paid claims.
  • Hurricane Jeanne closed out the season, teaching us not to be complacent. The storm followed in the path of Charley and Frances, pummeling Polk County for the third time in less than two months after a 44-year stretch without a single hurricane.

The "Big Four" of 2004 caused an estimated $45 billion in damage, the costliest U.S. Atlantic hurricane season on record at that time. While 2004 was an exceptional year, it only takes one storm to cause catastrophic damage to your client’s home.

The Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project recently released a “below-average” prediction for the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. There is a 35 percent probability that a major hurricane will strike the Atlantic coast this season. Meteorologists predict that we could see nine tropical storms, three of which could intensify into a hurricane with one becoming a major hurricane. Five years ago, the last predicted “below-average” hurricane season, saw nine named storms, two of which were major hurricanes. Storms during that “below-average” season caused more than $77 million in damage. It is important to remind your clients that it only takes one storm to cause significant flood damage.

Make sure your clients are covered before storm season

As an insurance agent, it’s important to ensure that your clients are financially prepared for the next flood. Although your clients might not think that they’re at risk, floods can happen anytime during the year—especially during hurricane season. Just a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage, and without a flood insurance policy, your clients will be paying for the damage out of their own pocket. The average flood claim paid by the NFIP between 2008 and 2012 was more than $42,000. And with more than 25 percent of claims originating from outside mapped high-risk areas, it is essential to communicate the financial impact of a flood to all of your clients, regardless of their designated flood zone.

Remember, there typically is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect. Make sure your clients are covered now before the storms begin.

Visit Agents.FloodSmart.gov today to find valuable tools and resources such as the Cost of Flooding tool to help you effectively communicate flood risk when having that all important flood talk with your clients and prospects.

If you haven’t already registered for the Agent Referral Program, you’re missing out on free, qualified leads. Prospective clients who visit FloodSmart.gov can enter their address into the Agent Locator tool and be connected to an agent in their area from FloodSmart’s Agent Referral Program database. Your name will also appear on FloodSmart direct mailings and will be used by the NFIP Referral Call Center to transfer prospective clients directly to you.

Take advantage of these resources and other tips and tools on Agents.FloodSmart.gov to help build your business and provide financial protection with a flood insurance policy for your clients this year.

This Week in Insurance: April 21–25, 2014

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Monday, April 21, 2014 

  • Florida House of Representatives, Session, 2:00 p.m., Tallahassee (House Chamber, The Capitol). 
  • Florida Workers’ Compensation JUA, Safety Committee teleconference, 2:00 p.m. To participate in the call, please contact Kathy Coyne at 941-378-7408. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 

  • Florida Cabinet meeting, 9:00 a.m., Tallahassee (Florida Cabinet Room, The Capitol, Lower Level). 
  • Department of Financial Services, Rule Hearing: Supervision of Public Adjuster Apprentices and Prohibited Acts by Apprentices, 10:00 a.m., Tallahassee (Room 116, Larson Building, 200 E Gaines St). For more information, contact Barry Lanier at 850-413-5601 or Barry.Lanier@myfloridacfo.com. 
  • Florida House of Representatives, Session, 10:30 a.m., Tallahassee (House Chamber, The Capitol). 
  • Florida Medical Malpractice JUA, Compensation Committee meeting, 3:00 p.m., Tallahassee (Hotel Duval, 415 N Monroe Street). 
  • Florida Medical Malpractice JUA, Audit Committee meeting, 4:00 p.m., Tallahassee (Hotel Duval, 415 N Monroe Street). 
  • Florida Medical Malpractice JUA, Claims & Underwriting Committee meeting, 4:30 p.m., Tallahassee (Hotel Duval, 415 N Monroe Street). 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • Florida Medical Malpractice JUA, Board Meeting, 9:00 a.m., Tallahassee (Hotel Duval, 415 N Monroe Street). 
  • Florida Senate, Session, 10:00 a.m., Tallahassee (Senate Chamber, The Capitol). 
  • Florida House of Representatives, Session, 10:30 a.m., Tallahassee (House Chamber, The Capitol). 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, Board of Governors teleconference, 10:00 a.m. To participate in the call, dial 888-942-8686 and use access code 5743735657#. 
  • Florida Senate, Session, 10:00 a.m., Tallahassee (Senate Chamber, The Capitol). 
  • Florida House of Representatives, Session, 10:30 a.m., Tallahassee (House Chamber, The Capitol). 

Friday, April 25, 2014

  • Florida Senate, Session, 10:00 a.m., Tallahassee (Senate Chamber, The Capitol). 
  • Florida House of Representatives, Session, 10:30 a.m., Tallahassee (House Chamber, The Capitol). 

This Week in Insurance: April 14–18, 2014

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Monday, April 14, 2014 

  • Florida Surplus Lines Service Office, Board of Governors, 1:00 p.m., Tallahassee (FSLSO Headquarters, 1441 Maclay Commerce Drive, Ste 200). 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 

  • Department of Financial Services, Rule Hearing: Conduct of Public Adjusters and Public Adjuster Apprentices, Ethical Requirements of All Adjusters, 10:00 a.m., Tallahassee (Room 116, Larson Building, 200 E Gaines St). For more information, contact Barry Lanier at 850-413-5601 or Barry.Lanier@myfloridacfo.com. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

  • Department of Financial Services, Rule Hearing: Managed Care Arrangements, 9:00 a.m., Tallahassee (Room 102, Hartman Building, 2012 Capital Circle SE). For more information, contact Eric Lloyd at 850-413-1689 or Eric.Lloyd@myfloridacfo.com. 

This Week in Insurance: April 7–11, 2014

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Monday, April 7, 2014 

  • Florida Workers' Compensation JUA, Reinsurance Committee teleconference, 1:30 p.m. To participate, please contact Kathy Coyne at (941) 378-7408. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 

  • Florida House of Representatives, Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, 9:00 a.m., Tallahassee (Morris Hall, 17 HOB). 
  • DFS, Division of Workers' Compensation, Rule Hearing (Financial Statements Reporting, Parental Guaranty, Excess Insurance, Requirements), 9:00 a.m., Tallahassee (Room 102 Hartman Building, 2012 Capital Circle Southeast). 
  • Florida Senate, Banking and Insurance Committee, 3:00 p.m., Tallahassee (Room 110, Senate Office Building). 
  • Florida Senate, Community Affairs Committee, 3:00 p.m., Tallahassee (Room 412, Knott Building). 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • Florida Medical Malpractice JUA, Public Meeting of the Evaluation Team (teleconference), 1:00 p.m. To participate, dial 877-208-7023 and use code: 3858114850. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

  • Florida Medical Malpractice JUA, Grant Committee teleconference, 9:00 a.m. To participate, dial 877-208-7023 and use code: 3858114850. 
  • Florida Senate, Session, 9:30 a.m., Tallahassee (Senate Chamber). 
  • Florida House of Representatives, Session, 12:30 p.m., Tallahassee (House Chamber). 

Pinellas-area agents can combine work and play at Tropicana Field

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Rays_imgPinellas County-area agents can combine work in and play this summer by taking a CE class and watching the Rays! It all happens June 5 at Tropicana Field. FAIA’s David Thompson will teach “Five-Hour P&C Update on Laws and Industry Trends” from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and after that, it’s time for play: The first pitch goes out at 4:10 p.m.

Class topics include wind mitigation, ethics, industry trends, legislative changes, new flood laws, Citizens Clearinghouse, and more. The class is limited to the first 60 with paid registration. Participants should plan to meet at Gate 4 at 10:00 a.m.

The cost for the game and class is $100 for PAIA members, and $120 for non-PAIA members. Register and pay before May 1 and save $15. The cost for the game only is $30 for PAIA members and $40 for non-PAIA members. (Please complete this form (PDF) to register.)

The class and game are made possible thanks to the following sponsors: FAIA, FAIA Young Agents Council, Master Restoration, Prepared Insurance, Heritage P&C Insurance, TAPCO Underwriters, American Integrity Insurance, Florida Peninsula, Gulfstream P&C Insurance, Olympus Insurance, ICW Group, Lighting Restoration, Davis Ventures, PuroClean, Sawgrass Mutual Insurance, and Johnson & Johnson, Inc.

For more information, call PAIA President Mike Ludwig at 727-213-1890.