It might be time for carriers and agents to encourage their clients to buy flood coverage even if they’re not living and working inside a flood zone.
Such an action is long overdue, according to insurance commissioners from Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee who spoke about the matter during a panel discussion at the Property Casualty Insurers of America (PCI ) annual Meeting on Oct. 29 in Miami.
Ray Farmer, director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance, said that the state tallies more than 200,000 flood insurance policies in force, concentrated mainly on the coast. The thing is, much of the state’s flooding from storms such as Hurricane Matthew and last fall’s Hurricane Florence have been mainly inland, he explained.
“We have got to get away from saying that because you are not in a high-hazard zone you don’t need flood insurance,” Farmer said. “We have got to do a better job of…convincing people that if it rains at your house you are probably in a flood zone.”
Julie Mix McPeak, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance and president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, said her work for the NAIC has focused on creating long-term stability of the National Flood Insurance Program. She emphasized, however, that the private market would do a much better job of spreading the word about flood insurance and why it matters.
“The more we have the private market come in and have competitive rates come through” the better, McPeak said. She added that companies would be more effective at letting customers know that “bringing flood protection is a necessity to consumers.”
David Altmaier, insurance commissioner for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, said that consumers often think that they are covered for flood insurance when they really aren’t.
“Most consumers don’t realize this is an issue” until flooding strikes, Altmaier said.
Farmer added: “A better job is needed to communicate that homeowners insurance does not cover flood.”
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