Well…another year has passed.

Nothing thrilling happened in our state this hurricane season…only a little brush of excitement from Tropical Storm Andrea over north Florida early in the season…and Tropical Storm Dorian, which fizzled out just before hitting the eastern side of our state in late July.

Dorian had the most potential this past year. After forming off the coast of Africa and taking direct aim at Florida for the better part of its week-long life…zilch…nada…nothing. I know what you’re thinking…I’ve just jinxed 2014.

(knocking on wood now…)

So, another year gone and we have nothing to show for it. Right?

Our worrisome clients can now breathe a sigh of relief…and, the complacent ones can now look to you for answers on why they are paying so much premium if no hurricanes have wreaked havoc in our state since those terrible storms of 2004-2005.

Lucky you…you get to answer to that!

But seriously, the real question is…how DO you answer to that?

Simply put…you address it with a picture.

Remember how you always hear someone mutter that idiom, “A picture is worth a thousand words?” Well, folks, now’s your chance!

I know it sounds awfully trite, but when asked, direct your clients to the images from the deadly Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines this past week. That’ll get their attention. There was so much destruction and utter collapse of the infrastructure of each community along the coast and inland for hundreds of miles.

Can it happen here in our state? In a word: Absolutely.

Do yourself a fact check, and take a peek at Dorian’s path. Ask yourself, “What if?”

What if Dorian had strengthened into a super hurricane?

What if Dorian had turned into another Andrew, or perhaps last year’s Sandy?

What if my town were hit by a 195 mph monster…with gusts as high as 235 mph?

How many of you remember Hurricane Camille…the previous record-holder? This hurricane hit the northern gulf coast on August 17, 1969, with sustained winds of 190 mph…and, the tide surged to 24 feet, sending water over the rooftops.

You have to ask yourself…can this happen again?”

Yes…but.

The problem is complacency.

You see, it’s the complacency you all face each and every day in your agencies. Without the onslaught of disaster locally…no one cares to really give a hoot. And, from that complacency, your clients want to know ‘why’ rates are increasing…why the need for insurance at all! It should not take a disaster to strike for people in the State of Florida to comprehend and take action…but, sometimes, that is just the way it goes.

Your clients are not worried in the least.

They’ll tell you they’ve heard it all before. And, for those who have not lived through the 2004-2005 hurricanes, it will be an uphill battle to describe the potential for a Camille to come roaring through our state. For these non-believers, the pictures of Haiyan, Andrew, and Sandy are miles away and times gone by….these clients feel that they are untouchable.

As you show them the destruction of these communities, your objective should never be  to instill fear in your clients through these images of past storms.

It is your responsibility to educate your clients on the meaning behind that fear, communicate to your clients the reactionary measures to take during a hurricane and collaborate with them on a collective direction now, during, and after a storm.

It’s a message of repetitiveness…and, is always significant, especially when you’re talking preparedness.

Take a peek back at the very beginnings of your insurance journey. Your clients came to you in the first place because they had a friend of a friend, or a family member, who brought you two together. Or, perhaps there was a chance encounter at a chamber function that helped solidify their first impression of you.

Either way it happened, they became attracted to you because of the value they saw in you! They chose you as the agent to take care of their needs in the face of uncertainty. Every year from June to November is a time full of uncertainty, because you never know when something might happen. And, that something this year…just never did.

As you educate, communicate, and collaborate with your clients this coming year, why not be the agent that takes care of your clients’ needs in the face of calm as well. This is the value that separates you from every other agent out there…one that repeats the message of awareness.

Create a preparedness campaign for your clients on January 1st. Don’t wait until May when everyone else is jumping on the bandwagon…if you do put off the message until the next hurricane season, it will get lost with all of the message overloads coming in from the evening news and other media outlets. Your responsibility is to create the image of mindfulness that our state is always on alert for another Camille…Andrew…Sandy…or, a Haiyan. And it’s never too early to create that campaign.

They’ll tell you they’ve heard it all before.

But, should a disaster strike in 2014, your clients will look back to the day that you took the time to echo the message and show them a picture of “what if.” Your value proposition is your passion for the protection for your clients…in the wake of disaster, as well as in the face of calm.

Ask yourself…in good times and in bad, in what ways is your agency prepared?

In what ways are you preparing your clients?

Lastly, picture this: If you could take a photograph of your client’s future…and “what if” indeed happens…would the picture include your agency?

Steve Shepherd

About Steve Shepherd


Steve’s entire career has been focused on helping companies to increase sales. He has sold, managed, trained and coached sales and sales management with noteworthy results. Steve’s results-oriented, highly interactive style has the ability to increase sales for many companies statewide. He makes sure the workshops are productive, interactive, and, above all, fun.