We’re now in March. Have you broken your New Year’s resolutions yet?
Exercising is time-consuming and it can be hard to find the energy to keep up. Drinking and eating less requires some cooperation from friends and family, as well as appealing food. Being more friendly and staying in-touch with loved ones? Might be extremely challenging when dealing with a cousin who just can’t stop gossiping about you.
In fact, dump all those resolutions. Reflect on them. Revise them. Best of all, replace those broken resolutions with a new one we can all agree on: strengthening your client’s finances.
Agents can play an important role in helping their clients keep their most important commitments. Why? Because you help your customers strengthen their financial condition by protecting what is most often their largest asset: their home.
Financial advisers were shocked when data from Alegeus revealed that 66% of Americans made financial-related resolutions for 2023. When did insurance customers suddenly get more disciplined? Well, the data shows they are resolving to save more (54% of respondents), spend less (44% of respondents), or to stick to a budget (38% of respondents). Some clients might be investing money into their homes by making improvements. They could plan an addition, a deck or a makeover of the kitchen. Maybe they are shopping for a new home insurance policy to offset the higher value they must insure. As homeowners plan, you should engage. Help them know if they are insured properly and if they have the right home insurance to protect their investment.
How can you help? Ask your clients questions. Sample questions to ask clients include:
- Are you planning on selling your home and moving this year?
- Do you plan to rent your property this year for extra income?
- Will you be investing in an addition onto your home or doing any construction?
- Are you thinking of investing in smart home technology?
Each answer gives you an opportunity to be more involved with your customers’ financial safety.
Selling and moving into a new home
A move is the most likely life event to cause a customer to change home insurance carriers. Agents can make sure homeowners select the right coverage options and the right carrier when they move into a new home. With a thorough understanding of the new home’s features, agents can recommend tailored coverage. Customers who buy all the insurance they need, rather than the bare minimum they are required to buy, last longer as clients. You can help homeowners qualify for discounts depending on the age of the home, its security system, its fire protection system, and smart-home technology.
Building up the property
If this is the year that a homeowner is finally building his or her dream garage, agents can assist again. The standard homeowners insurance policy covers other structures—what we call Coverage B—but agents know more than their customers what limits that coverage has. Separate structures coverage does not protect the materials that are stored inside the structure. Agents can walk homeowners through the limits of the policy contract and help them decide if they want to purchase additional coverage or to raise the overall coverage on the dwelling to account for the value of that structure.
Putting a pool in
Installing and maintaining a pool costs money, but the total cost of ownership should include potential changes to the owner’s insurance policy. Homeowners need to adjust what we call Coverage A for the replacement, repair or refilling of a home’s pool and surrounding equipment. More important, the homeowner needs to have enough personal liability coverage to protect against accidents involving guests. When someone is injured in a pool, the homeowner does not want to exhaust the personal liability coverage (Coverage E) paying a negligence claim. It is amazing how often a game of sharks and minnows can become dangerous, or how adventurous teenagers in the neighborhood become while pool hopping. I still have pain from my contest-winning belly flop when I was 16 years old. I am glad I didn’t hit the edge. Personal liability coverage can help homeowners in unthinkable situations.
Often, insurance is a factor in which consumers overlook the opportunity not only to save money, but to ensure the investments they are making in their homes aren’t going to cost them more money in the long run. Having a picture of clients’ financial plans for this year is the best way for agents to recommend tailored insurance coverage and ways to help their clients save money on home insurance.
Help your customers revise their resolutions. Keep financial plans on track by adjusting homeowners coverages for the constantly changing risk of owning a home.
Bill Martin is the president and CEO of Plymouth Rock’s Home Insurance Group at which he oversees the business’s operations and reinsurance program. Bill has 35 years of experience in the property/casualty insurance industry. He has held senior positions at Farmers, Great American, Progressive and Travelers. Prior to joining Plymouth Rock in 2016, Bill was president of Bankers Insurance in St. Petersburg, Fla. He has a B.A. in political science from Stanford University. He is an avid sailor, skier, trombone player and sports fanatic.