How brokers can prepare clients for hurricane season

Empathy and compassion will always be paramount

How brokers can prepare clients for hurricane season

Catastrophe & Flood

By David Saric

When helping prepare a policyholder for hurricane season, it is important that a broker be honest and empathetic about the current state of the marketplace while working to meet a client’s needs.

“A good broker is always trying to cater to the client with their utmost attention and vigilance, especially during periods of potentially catastrophic weather patterns,” said Matt Mallory (pictured), president and CEO of Mallory Agency.

“Sometimes industry developments and new data may not be what the client wants to hear, but it is up to us to offer peace of mind while also finding creative solutions to offer them the best coverage available.”

In a conversation with Insurance Business, Mallory spoke about how brokers must uphold honesty with a client, the unique methods of coverage a broker can tap into to offer speedier payouts after a loss, and the advantages of working with underwriters with exceptional regional knowledge.

“We must be honest and direct with the information we have”

For residents in coastal areas that are routinely subjected to harsher weather conditions and catastrophic events, a broker must try and grapple with unsavory price hikes and restrictions with a sense of hopefulness.

“The way the industry is going right now, especially for these hurricane hotspots, is not particularly good,” Mallory said.

As property and casualty (P&C) rates increase dramatically, across personal and commercial lines, policyholders or potential clients may be anxious around how they can recover from potential losses.

“Unfortunately, in terms of rates, we as brokers can’t go and twist the arms of insurers to make them lower their prices,” Mallory said.

However, the first positive step forward for any difficult conversation is an emphasis on intent.

“Obviously, we will do our best to secure the best terms for a client,” Mallory said. “However, we must be just as careful and judicious with how we position the less good terms to them.”

While providing empathy is required in any customer-facing profession, it is how you proposition actionable solutions to these problems that really showcases dedication.

“We must be honest and direct with whatever information we have, but we must not stop there. It is up to the broker to do their best to uphold the value of client commitment,” Mallory said.

Using newer developments in the industry

Parametric insurance, which was introduced into the insurance marketplace less than a decade ago, could be a viable option for some clients.

Parametric coverage is centred around physical triggers, such as how fast the wind blew at a certain time, which can be useful when dealing with hurricanes.

“This is definitely an option to explore for brokers who are trying to be more resourceful when dealing with a client’s vulnerabilities,” Mallory said.

These physical triggers also require less analytical insight to generate a faster payout.

“The typical process required to collect all the data to complete a payout can seem like an eternity with indemnity-based coverage.” Mallory said. “So being able to accelerate that process in any way possible is an advantageous tool for a broker.”

When people’s livelihoods are on the line, especially for new business owners or those who have just purchased their first home, going through a catastrophic loss can be an emotional experience.

Mallory hopes that more products like parametric coverage will be available soon to help mitigate slower turnaround times.

“It is all about creating a path of least resistance for clients.”

Tapping into regional experts

With over 115 years in business, Mallory Agency — which is headquartered in Georgia but provides services nationwide — specializes in private clients and families, as well as middle to large market companies.

With this experience, the independent insurance brokerage has had the opportunity to amplify its capabilities to address client concerns with utmost attentiveness.

This includes partnering with underwriters who specialize in geographic zones to offer clients the best possible policies from experts on risk exposures and business developments.

“Working with these individuals is very strategic on our part,” Mallory said.

“Because of how fast the markets have been changing — sometimes in about 30 to 60 days — we want to be in frequent communication with these people and and know how these updates or amendments can affect our clients.”

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