Every year, the month of October plays host to Fire Prevention Month, offering insurance agents a great opportunity to reconnect and remind customers about fire safety awareness.
Most agents know that being an insurance agent is as much about service as it is about sales. After you sell a home insurance policy, the customer service part begins and retention becomes the goal. If you want clients to keep their business with you, stay connected by offering additional value that goes above and beyond the policy. Who knows, they may even refer family members and friends your way!
Delivering added value for customers
Tips on fire safety can be easily shared with your homeowners insurance customers in newsletters, social media posts, or links to downloadable checklists from credible online sources. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association offers many downloadable fire safety tip sheets you can even customize with your insurance company’s logo and information before sending to your clients.
Fire safety can be a sensitive subject but being confident and comfortable talking about fire safety with clients is a sure way to express your insurance authority and gain their trust. Here are a few fire prevention tips and questions you should discuss with your clients.
"Do you have the proper fire safety devices/tools?"
- Are there smoke detectors in your home?
- How about fire extinguishers?
These are two of the most important and inexpensive tools your customers can invest in to keep your home and family safe.
Remind your contacts that smoke detectors should be installed properly on each level of your home and in individual bedrooms. They need to be checked regularly to be sure they are working properly. While fresh batteries will keep your smoke detectors alive, it’s important to replace all of them with new models every ten years.
An alternative way to approach this topic would be to ask them how recently they checked the batteries in their smoke detector or better yet tested it. A simple reminder to push a tiny button can help save lives and add a small mental note as to who it was that reminded them.
Fire extinguishers should be placed on each level of your home, and one must be in the kitchen. Remind customers that though they all serve a similar purpose, and not all fire extinguishers are created equal. Including a simple list of the different types and ways to use each fire suppression tool is another quick, digestible tip that your customers can find valuable.
Also, don’t forget that they can expire, too. Keeping these fire safety tools as up-to-date as possible will surely benefit everyone in the home should any unexpected fires occur.
Homeowners insurance generally covers all fires, including wildfires. Where a customer lives can determine whether they’ll need to be concerned about mother nature starting a fire. Take the time to inquire about clients that may be in these zones and maybe even single them out with a specific message or email. Personalized information is a great way to keep strong connections with customers, and because wildfire mitigation speaks to a unique insurance need, you’re positioning yourself well for referrals.
"Do you practice everyday safety?"
The kitchen is one of the most obvious and most common places for a fire to start in a home but there are other common dangers to remind customers about:
- Never leave what you’re cooking unattended. Microwaves, stoves, ovens, toasters, etc. These can all be possible causes of a house fire. It’s best to practice safety and always cook safely.
- Careful with candles. Never leave burning candles unattended. Keep them away from edges, children, combustible material, and ensure they have a sturdy base with a way for wax to be collected properly.
- Dispose of cigarettes properly. Ensure that all smoking items are extinguished fully and avoid dumping ashtrays into the garbage. Dispose of cigars and cigarettes in proper containers, never flower pots.
- Check dryer vents often. Spot check and vacuum visible lint and combustible material. Replace any broken or worn parts and ensure that the vent is clear of debris or air restrictions.
The list can go on from here but it’s best to use what you think your clients will find the most value in. Consider the following additional reminders to help you determine your approach.
- Do they have a fireplace?
- Is there a wood burning or gas stove in the house?
- How far are they from the nearest fire station?
- Do they grill in the summer?
- Do some of your clients use a portable patio heater?
- Are they using their laptop computer on a bed?
"Have you created an escape route?"
Even if you’ve taken all appropriate measures to prevent a fire, accidents still happen. If a fire cannot be prevented, remember—the most valuable items in anyone’s home are the lives in it. Because of this, home escape routes and meetup points are strongly recommended. It’s good to remind clients f this to help ensure everyone in their family knows how to safely evacuate each room of the house. Rather than offering this up yourself, here is a customizable fire plan document from the National Safety Council to help anyone create a safe escape route for their home.
Keep customers informed
October is Fire Prevention Month, but fire safety is a topic you can discuss throughout the year with your clients. The most important of all these fire prevention tips is to remind them to keep the conversation active with every member of their household. If they have children in their home, make sure everyone knows the escape route, a meeting place, and how to practice regular fire safety by not playing with matches or other flammable products.
What other fire prevention tips would you recommend to your home insurance clients? Let us know in the comments section.