Identify Flood Insurance Marketing Opportunities in Your Community
Snow melt in the Midwest brings spring flooding. Heavy winter rains on the West Coast create flooded homes and mudflows. Wildfire-scarred land across the Mountain West and Pacific Northwest increase mudflow and flood risk for up to several years. Hurricanes and tropical storms drench the country from New England to the Mid-Atlantic to the Gulf, and can seriously impact communities hundreds of miles inland as well. And man-made structures like levees and dams can and do fail, making residents who live in protected areas vulnerable to flooding over time.
The fact is, flood events occur in every state and territory. That’s why it’s imperative you tell your customers about the value of flood insurance coverage.
FACT: Many homeowners do not believe their home is at risk for flooding. However, residents who live in a community that has experienced flooding in the last several years are more likely to purchase flood insurance. Do you know your community’s flood history?
The NFIP runs targeted marketing campaigns during windows of customer demand and increased flood risk. Agents are encouraged to learn more and participate in the NFIP’s marketing campaigns.
Create a marketing plan
Before you can sell a flood insurance policy, you have to market. Your marketing approach will depend on your overall goals, allotted budget, intended audience, and how you will measure success.
To create your marketing plan, follow these key steps:
Who is your marketing campaign trying to reach? Rather than trying to market to every homeowner or business owner in your community, focus on customers who are likely to purchase or who face increased flood risk. For example, market to new homeowners in spring or coastal residents at the start of hurricane season.
The NFIP has identified the following flood insurance customer characteristics:
- Heightened personal financial risk: Find areas in your community with high rates of homeownership. Compared to homeowners in multi-unit, high-rise buildings, homeowners in single-family homes in low-lying areas are more likely to understand their personal financial risk when it comes to flooding. As a result, they are more likely to purchase flood insurance to protect their largest asset.
- Heightened awareness of flood risk: Identify customers who understand flood risk. This may include clients who live near visible flood hazards like rivers, lakes, or coastal areas, or residents whose communities have experienced flooding in the last several years.
Finally, don’t forget about potential customers living in moderate- to low-risk zones who may qualify for a lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy (PRP).
When does flood insurance demand and flood risk peak in your area? With flood insurance marketing, timing is key. After purchase, flood insurance policies typically take 30 days to go into effect, so it's important to time your marketing efforts in advance of local flood risk facts – like spring rains, snow melt, or hurricane season.
If clients wait until severe weather arrives to purchase flood insurance, it is likely too late for them to secure the necessary coverage.
Once you’ve identified your audience, think about where they go to get information. What does your audience read, watch, or listen to? Who do they trust when considering home insurance decisions?
Communications channel examples:
- Local newspapers or community bulletins
- Local television and radio stations
- Direct mail or community flyers
- HOA newsletters or neighborhood apps
- Community events
- Social media (ex. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn)
After identifying your audience and marketing channels, consider:
What messages convey the value of flood insurance to your target audience? For example, key messages for new homeowners will differ from messages to homeowners who just paid off their mortgage. Similarly, residents in high-risk flood areas will respond to different messages than residents in moderate- to low-risk areas.
What messages work best for your marketing channels? Consider the right message length and tone for your channels. Social media channels are more concise and casual, while local newspapers may require more long-form and authoritative messages. Also, determine whether informational, story-driven, or public service announcement language is the best fit.
What are my go-to talking points? The NFIP has identified the following high-performing key messages:
- Protect: “Protect the life you’ve built with flood insurance.”
- Value of flood insurance: “The average flood insurance claim payment in the past 5 years was about $69,000.”
- Cost of flooding: “Just one inch of water can cause more than $25,000 in damage to your home.”
- Salience: “Flood survivors know: Devastating floods can happen anywhere.”
Finding partners to raise flood risk awareness
When it comes marketing in your community, it’s important to build your networks to amplify your marketing campaign even further.
Successful agents enlist support from local partners to spread the word about flood risk, flood preparedness, and the value of flood insurance.
Community partners may include:
- FEMA officials and regional staff
- Homeowners associations
- Lenders and realtors
- Emergency managers and first responders
- Community officials
- Home inspectors
- Local home supply or hardware stores
- Lenders, financial advisors, and real estate professionals