How brokers can provide value through flood risk advice

Published: November 2, 2019

Updated: November 4, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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Brokers are constantly looking for ways to keep customers engaged and for brokerages to provide value to clients. One easy and effective way to do that is to advise homeowners on flood risk. According to one climate expert, this is a very easy thing to do.

In fact, Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo, says brokers can help with flood risk assessment. To do this, they would just have to highlight hotspots in the interior and exterior of the property. When problems are found, brokers can advise on what can be done to avert the risk.

Feltmate spoke at the 2019 Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) Convention last week.

“Some of the initiatives [are] very practical and cost-effective means that you can put in place to mitigate that flood risk,” he said.

Many risks can be mitigated quickly and with relatively low cost. Indeed, Feltmate said it is “shocking” what a homeowner can do on their own over a weekend with a spend of a few hundred dollars. He suggested shoring up against risks can be don “just like that”. While Feltmate admits its not the ideal remedy for risk it is a good alternative.

For example, he pointed out around 70% of all homes in Canada have a gradient somewhere near the house that directs water flow too the property instead of away during rain. He suggested simply changing the gradient of the slope would avert a major flood risk.

Feltmate also pointed out the fault in having drains in a basement. Specifically, he explained that this is a vital addition to stop overflow of water from appliances, but many homeowners cover the drain with flooring.

“In other words, they’re non-functional,” Feltmate said. “All of these things should be presented to the homeowner as an equity investment in the home, because at some point you’re going to sell this thing and you want to point these features out.”