Rethinking claims and the causes

***Working thought, from an idea via a longtime friend***

So the scenario is quite common, friend calls and says they want to have some tree work done on their property.  Pretty common.  You can also insert, new roof, new furnace, upgrade to electric panel, drainage dug, fire alarm installed, etc.  Think of it as any proactive, likely preventive measure that can reduce the likelihood and at worse the severity of a claim.

“Bill, is there an extra discount for cutting down the trees?  Will they(the insurance company) pay for it?  ”    No and No.

Why not?  Well, in theory, this is your responsibility.  Maintain your home.  Home insurance is not a maintenance policy.  Nor should it become one.  On the other hand, if we are engaged in this great mutual enterprise of protection, of a partnership with a set of people, why aren’t we working together.

What to we do first?  I think we come up with a pretty comprehensive list of items that can be done that can reduce or sometimes eliminate the likelihood of common claims;

  • Annual home inspection by a certified home inspector
  • Gutter maintenance
  • Improving or adding better drainage
  • Keeping trees/tree limbs off a certain perimeter of the home
  • Insect/animal inspections and preventive measures
  • Alarm systems; fire, smoke, co2, central alarms, mobile monitoring
  • Nest type thermostat with temperature sensors
  • Documented annual cleaning/inspection of wood stoves and fire places
  • etc.

Then set up a pretty basic incentive structure.  Say a $20 annual credit to be applied to your premium for completing 1-3 of these.  $30 for 4-6, etc.  Or maybe a deductible credit.  Right now it is popular to diminish/waive a deductible after a period of years.  This is nice but does it really make sense?  Is it something the customer can see/feel/touch/SHARE right now?  NO it is not.   Maybe doing something big like tree removal/pruning or a new furnace or a new roof gets you a $20 a year credit for say 5 years?  *Yes, some are already doing a roof discount**   Lets expand this.

Let’s get better relationships in place with say Angie’s List, Home Advisor or other similar site.  In theory, they are already filtering the good contractors from the bad, why replicate their effort?  No need.

If used properly this can be a massive retention tool as well as loss ratio reducer at the broker/agent level.   This will also help the carrier.  Not to mention, this is something actually worth talking about.  It is a positive incentive that can put more money back into the local economy while creating a marketing activity worth talking about.  Seriously, enough of this overplayed and diluted discount non-sense.

Thanks for considering.  Open to your thoughts.

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