5 Compelling Reasons for Having a Disaster Plan

Ask any insurance professional what business they are in, and the answer will likely include the word “planning” – helping customers plan ahead so they are prepared and protected. Putting product and coverage solutions in place for customers helps them be prepared. Chances are, your clients can and should do more, particularly around planning for natural catastrophes. Take the opportunity today to share with your customers five compelling reasons for making a disaster plan and the steps to take to create one.
Natural disasters on the scale of Hurricane Katrina or the recent Moore, Oklahoma tornado rivet our attention and evoke sympathy for the victims and survivors. Although such large-scale events are relatively rare, seventy-five percent of all American households are at risk for experiencing some type of natural disaster including earthquakes, floods, storms and wildfires. Equally startling is that relatively few have done much to prepare.
The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence partnered with the MIT AgeLab to conduct research to better understand peoples’ experiences with natural disasters. Eight focus groups were held with people age 50 or older in different locations around the country. We also conducted a series of interviews with Hartford claims adjusters to ask them about their experiences working with individuals and families in the wake of natural disasters.
Our research showed that it’s just human nature not to plan for a disaster – mainly because we think it won’t happen to us. But living through a disaster is a memory that is never forgotten. One research participant describes it this way: “I was five years old when I experienced my first tornado. To this day, I can hear my dad yelling ‘Go to cellar. Go to cellar.’ We weren’t there very long before we heard this roar. We came out of the cellar and the house was gone. … so I’ve been sensitive to tornadoes ever since.”
Take a look at what some of our research participants and The Hartford claims adjusters said as they reflected on the importance of being prepared.
1. It could save your life: Having a plan could mean the difference between life and death.
“[The earthquake] made me wake up, like ‘Hello! Reality check!’ [I realized] this really could cost me my life, my home and everything I own.”
2. Disasters are traumatic: Having a plan can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
“The customers cry a lot. Not when you get there, but when you walk around the house and they are flooded with memories, or are just overwhelmed. It affects your heart.”
3. A support network will be in place: Knowing whom you can count on brings peace of mind.
“We don’t know who is supposed to help us. Would it be the fire department? How do we know who’s going to be there for us? Most people don’t know.”
4. You will have more control: You may not have control over a disaster, but being prepared for one can give you some control in the aftermath.
“We had a severe hailstorm and it [broke] the windows … They said there was a big rainstorm on its way, too. So I immediately started covering those windows with plastic. I made sure that all of my neighbors got some plastic, and we went around and fixed their windows, too. We all got ready for the rain.”
5. Your expectations will be more realistic: It is easier to put your life back together when you know what to expect.
“If you’ve lost your home and your car is floating away, and then all of a sudden you have an [insurance] company representative saying, ‘We need an inventory of your contents,’ it puts a strain on people at a tough time.”
The Hartford created It Could Happen to Me: Family Conversations about Disaster Planning a consumer guidebook to help people better prepare for natural disasters and catastrophes by talking to – and planning with – family, friends and neighbors. The guidebook outlines the ABC’s of a comprehensive plan and includes checklists, worksheets and resources to make the planning process as easy as possible
Contact our Insurance Specialist for a copy of the Guidebook…Planning is key to surviving!!!