Private Flood Insurance: Innovative Insurance Firm Competes on Flood Coverage
Dominated by a FEMA program, the flood insurance market had long been thought uncompetitive and unprofitable. Wright National Flood Insurance Services pushes back against that belief with new private flood insurance options.
When it comes to competition in the flood insurance industry, most companies agree to let the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) handle the heavy lifting. But Wright National Flood Insurance Services is taking a different approach. Instead of putting the onus on the government to meet its moonshot goal of doubling the number of consumers who have flood insurance by 2020, Wright is breaking away from the pack and developing more cost-efficient, flexible private flood insurance options. As the nation’s largest writer of NFIP policies, Wright National Flood Insurance is uniquely qualified to develop the kind of private flood insurance options that will make flood insurance more accessible to consumers, expand the flood insurance marketplace, and give more Americans the coverage they need to protect their families and homes. Why? Because as Jim Watje, senior vice president of Wright National Flood Insurance Services puts it:
“A lot of consumers ignore their exposure because they don’t think they’re exposed to it. But Mother Nature doesn’t look at lines on a map and determine where the water goes. And so our task is education as much as it is selling.”
In this interview with Business Observer, Watje explains the importance of expanding the flood insurance marketplace to include private insurance options, why competition is important, and Wright National Flood Insurance Services’ new Zurich Residential Private Flood Insurance program.
Second only to life insurance, flood insurance is probably the insurance product most people, particularly Floridians, would least like to think about. As the nation saw in 2017 with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, last year with Michael and just this month with Dorian, rampant flooding is one of the most dangerous, destructive punches Mother Nature can throw.
It’s odd, then, that there’s little competition and innovation in the private sector for flood insurance customers. But Jim Watje, senior vice president of St. Petersburg-based Wright National Flood Insurance Services, a subsidiary of Daytona Beach-based Brown & Brown, says it’s not that unusual, considering the market is dominated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Government basically takes out everyone else.
FEMA “is a difficult competitor,” he says, “because it doesn’t act like a for-profit entity. There are some companies that would hesitate to get into the market because they fear the NFIP would have some type of unfair advantage against a for-profit entity. That’s been the historical perception.”
Wright, however, adopted a ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ mentality to FEMA and the NFIP. Wright National Flood Insurance, Watje says, is the nation’s largest writer of NFIP policies and even issued the first NFIP policy when the program launched 50 years ago. “We see them as a partner, not a competitor.”
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If you are interested in learning more about the private flood insurance options Wright offers, or you would like to become a Wright Flood Agent, please call (866) 373-5663 or visit http://wrightflood.com/agents-and-brokers.html.