You can't turn on the radio or tv without hearing an insurance ad these days. Normally its price driven on a certain product.

So what about these companies that offering every insurance product they can. They think they are helping their clients by offering these products but could they actually be hurting their clients?

In the last 7 days we have dealt with two heart breaking situations that could have been avoided.

They both had to do with FHA loan home buyers. The first situation was a potential home buyer in the McDonough Georgia area. This customer had gotten her flood insurance taken care of with a private flood insurance company. However according to the individual the insurance company never asked what kind of loan the customer was doing?

You might ask how does this impact flood insurance in areas like McDonough Georgia?

Well FHA currently does not accept private flood insurance on their loans. Now we have seen some exceptions but for the most part this is correct.

So for this customer private flood insurance was not an option but she was not even aware of it. So this customer had to walk away from the home she was buying and was out lots of money for something she really had no control over.

Now let's look at situation number 2.

A property owner was relocating from New Jersey to the Georgia coast. He was familiar with the flood insurance restrictions on FHA loans. He got a quote from one of the larger auto and home insurance companies. He verified everything was good over the course of three weeks. They said yes everything was great.

However they went to complete the policy and was told that flood insurance was not available on this property.

You may say I thought the National Flood Insurance Program offered flood coverage on every building. This is not exactly true there are some situations they do not offer coverage.

  1. Buildings over water in certain situations
  2. Properties that do not participate in the National Flood Insurance Program
  3. Properties in CBRA zones in certain situations

In this particular situation this property did not qualify for the National Flood Insurance Program because of the year built. This property was in the Coastal Barrier Resources Act area which restricts development after 1982.

 

Now most flood systems should alert an agent about this when quoting but insurance companies should also do a CBRA zone verification on coastal properties. Unfortunately in this situation neither one of these were done. As a result this property owner was out thousands of dollars from a relocation, inspection fees, and other costs associated with this property.

Now both of these situations could have been avoided had the insurance companies had the right flood underwriting process.

Even though someone says they have a department that specializes in flood insurance it doesn't mean they are asking the right flood questions.

So whether its your commercial flood insurance or the coverage on your boat its important to find an expert in this area. This is why at the Flood Insurance Guru all we do is flood insurance, flood education, and flood consulting.

By the way I once bought a home in a high risk area and it was a nightmare. So I know how these buyers feel when this happens.

So if you have questions on how to avoid these things from happening to you then make sure to visit our website.

You can also checkout our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel or even check out our podcast.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. This means we can help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property long term.

 

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Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

So I was sitting in my office the other day and heard someone on our team ask do you want the standard flood coverage?

My eyes got really big and it got me thinking?

Portrait of amazed casual man standing with arms folded isolated on a white background

Who taught them to say this? I know I didn't

Then it got me thinking deeper, do people think there are standard flood coverages?

Many times people think standard flood coverages might be the loan amount on their property or the max amount that the National Flood Insurance Program offers on a policy.

The fact is standard flood coverages do not exist or at least they should not. The reason is every property is different.

Each property has a different replacement cost on it. This is what insurance companies think it would take to replace the property if it was destroyed.

Then there are the foundation types of the property. A home with a basement may need a different type of coverage than a home with a crawlspace.

Then there are the elevations of the property. This is what can show the real risk of flooding on the property. Each property has its own elevations. You may have one property that has a garage and one property that does not.

This is one of the things we try to explain to people when they say my neighbor is paying less for flood insurance than I am.

So the next time you are getting a flood risk analysis done on your property remember this. Not only can these things change your risk but they can have a major impact on flood insurance premiums as well.

Your property is unique just like you.

If you have further questions about how to obtain the right flood insurance coverage then make sure to click here.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. This means we can help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property.

 

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Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

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Have you every met a person and just instantly felt like you have known each other a lifetime?

That's exactly how I feel about the great David Carothers. I met David in January of 2020 but he had already started to change our company and my life before that.

I am going to spend a little time showing you how he has changed everything for us and how he could possibly do the same thing for you.

I have gotten to know David over the last year. You see we have a special connection we both worked for Winn Dixie grocery stores. We actually both worked for the company at the same time about 5 miles apart in Birmingham Alabama but never met.

If you ever meet him ask him about his Alabama white bbq sauce its killer. David can cook with the best of them and a few days probably doesn't go by when he is putting something on the Big Green Egg.

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As mentioned I felt we had an instant connection from the moment we connected on social media and met later in person. I later found out we were both into the HubSpot CRM deeply.There was just something about David that gave me hope.

You see I had made this transition from a traditional auto and home insurance agency to only offering flood insurance, flood education, and flood consulting. That first year was tough I fell on my face many times. Along the way David was there to really help me.

In 2020 David even gave me the opportunity be a guest on his podcast.

You can listen to it here.

While many people would say keep up the great work which meant alot. David would say stop thinking like a one tool sales person and start thinking like a business owner. There is this saying in the insurance industry rookies track premium and veterans track revenue.

This was a struggle of mine when I was still offering traditional insurance products. In fact it almost ran me out of business in 2017. I was selling all this great premium but the problem was we were not creating the right business partnerships to increase the revenue.

We were not creating relationships and cheerleaders.

Young beautiful female cheerleader in uniform jumping high

This is where think like a business owner comes from. You see David is known all over the insurance industry for his experience in commercial insurance. When meeting with clients he does not mention the word insurance at all.

It's about understanding risk as a business owner and minimizing that risk.

That's why David has had such an impact on us helping property owners manage their flood risk.

You see one of the major confusions with flood maps is when someone is in a non mandatory area they think there is no risk. So its our job to help these individuals and business owners truly understand what this risk is and how to minimize it.

By doing this we are hopefully doing a better job of helping people protect themselves.

Sometimes I can be like a kid in a candy store and get distracted from this philosophy. Thankfully David's book The Extra 2 Minutes has really helped me stay focused.

If you want to get your hands on it you can buy it by clicking this link.

It's not just my life David has changed its insurance agents across the whole country.

People who have struggled with commercial insurance are now excelling and its all because of David.

So from all the insurance agents across the country thank you David.

Thank you especially for your friendship and support you have no idea what it means.

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Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

Flood zone AE also referred to as the 100 year flood zone has the highest premiums other than coastal areas. These are generally because most of the structures have a negative base flood elevation. So what determines the premiums of these zones?

Well there are a few things that have a major impact on flood premiums in these zones. The age of the structure, the foundation type, flood loss history, and the elevation of the home.

Also in the Birmingham Alabama area the number of flood insurance policies could have an impact on flood insurance rates. Many private flood insurance companies in areas like Birmingham, Pell City, Bessemer, Jasper, and even Anniston Alabama can max out the number of flood policies they offer just half way into the year.

This is a major issue we have seen in the last year with people building homes in areas like Trussville Aalabama.

So lets get back to some of the orginal factors.

Let's start with the age of the structure depending on when the house was built it in Birmingham Alabamait  will have a different rating model through FEMA. Its based on the first flood map for structure which generally occurred after 1978. If it was before the first flood map its called a PreFirm structure and if its after the first flood map its called a PostFirm structure. One of the big differences between these two types of structures is called grandfathering where you can keep the Birmingham property in a preferred flood zone that no longer exists. 

This has been a common practice in areas like Pinson Al and Centerpoint Al where flood maps have been changed in recent years.

The next thing that has a major impact on flood insurances rates in flood zone AE is the foundation type. Let's start with Birmingham Alabama properties that have crawlspaces above grade compared to subgrade. Above grade is a crawlspace that sits above ground and subgrade is going to be crawlspace that sits partially below ground. The big difference here is subgrade generally will sit a certain level below the base flood elevation which increase the premium. While above grade sits above ground it could still be below the base flood elevation. The difference is things like flood vents can significantly lower the premiums with above grade crawlspaces.
The next type of foundation that will have a major impact on premiums are basements. Because of severe weather and being in a popular tornado state Birmingham is known for having basements on many properties. As you can imagine basements can sit a good distance below the lowest adjacent grade creating a significant negative elevation. This can have a big difference on the rate so it's very important to understand this when owning a house and purchasing a house. Also just because a basement is below grade does not mean that it is below the base flood elevation. Now that we have talked about foundations let's talk about how the elevation of the home in a flood zone Ae can impact the rate.The only real way to know this is to have a survey or elevation certificate completed. Now that we have discussed how the elevations of a home can have a major impact on flood insurance rates as you can see from the different foundation types.

Let's talk about positive elevations first and how they can have a big impact. The further your home is above the base flood elevation the better the rate is going to be on your Birmingham Alabama property. If all the elevations of your home are above the base flood elevation your home might even qualify for a letter of map amendment. In recent years we have helped alot of Birmingham Alabama property owners get flood premiums back by getting the flood zone corrected. This means that your property might be removed from the high risk flood zone and placed in a low risk flood zones causing a big improvement to property values.

Now lets talk about the impact of negative elevations. As mentioned above basements can cause a home to have an extreme negative elevation. The higher the negative elevation a home has the higher probability of a flood occurring. This can create a double edged sword because the NFIP rates can be through the roof sometimes exceeding $10,000 a year for non coastal properties. However the other problem is the higher the negative elevation the less likely that a private insurance carrier will offer coverage on a property. So these are some things to think about when buying a home with a basement or building a home. we have discussed the impact foundation types can have on a structure lets talk about flood loss history.

Flood losses can have a major impact on a property. It could even stop a property from selling if severe enough. Generally when one flood loss occurs you would lose the preferred rating with the NFIP if you had one. Having a flood loss can also eliminate most of the private flood insurance options as most will not insure a property that has had a loss. However when the second loss and paid claim occur is when disaster can strike. This can turn a property into a severity loss property which has to follow certain mitigation guidelines in order to get insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance is not available on these type of properties. This is why you should really review things closely before filing a flood insurance claim.

Have questions about flood insurance? Click the link below or visit The Flood Insurance Guru

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

 

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In 2017 I started doing some research about how video can change business. I wanted to dive in deep and see if I could see how it could impact our business.

I ran across this guy named Ryan Hanley who was working at Agency Nation at the time. He had started his insurance career inside an agency and was what I refer to as the content and video guru. This man committed to content and especially video when it wasn't popular.

I mean this was like 5 years ago before Youtube was even taking off like crazy. He wrote the book content warfare which has changed so many lives including mine. You can buy it at the link above.

I want to take you along the journey of how Ryan Hanley changed our agency, my life, and my families future forever.

As I mentioned in 2017 I started studying video and specifically what Ryan Hanley had done and was still doing to change an industry.

I wanted to change lives through flood education and I wanted to use content to do it.

So I started studying some of Ryans strategies and his videos. As I mentioned he was the original video guru. He did 100 insurance videos in 100 days. This record stood until a great insurance agent out of New York named Mike Crowley did 101 videos in 2019. It took nearly 10 years for some one to beat this record.

It wasn't so much about the record as it was the dedication and consistency that Ryan put into his work that got my respect.

Anybody can pick up a camera and record a video but to do it everyday for 100 days takes a special individual.

Ryan was changing lives through his blogs as well. As I continued to read his work I knew this was the kind of strategy that I wanted to build our niche flood education market on. I wanted people to feel like I was reading minds because when they had a question I already had an answer.

So in 2018 I did a 30 day challenge to see how video could change our business. I did 30 videos in 30 days and then I looked at the results.

The results blew me a way. Ryan had been telling people for years about the impact video could have but no one was listening.

So like Ryan I decided to commit to video but I was going to do it for a year. 365 days of flood education videos. Honestly I thought I was going to run out after 10 days. However using the strategies that Ryan Hanley has taught me over the years kept it going. Half way through our year challenge I decided to start blogging and podcasting.

2019 ended and we had done 365 flood education videos in 365 days, 150 flood blogs in 150 days, and a 100 flood podcast in 100 days. Staying focused on what Ryan was still teaching me without him knowing I decided to keep going.

In early 2020 I had the opportunity to meet Ryan Hanley in person for the first time. To come face to face with the man that had such an impact on my life was unreal.

When I returned home from meeting Ryan I decided to dive deeper. I wanted to keep the videos going to 500 but I wanted to create 1000 pieces of flood education content in 2020.

In early 2020 I had the opportunity to be a guest on Ryan Hanley's podcast and what an honor it was. The opportunity to thank someone who had such a big impact on me.

So we are now half way through 2020 and Covid has thrown off our plan a little bit but we recently hit 500 videos in 500 days. I have decided to keep going to a 1000 videos. Who knows maybe I look back one day and say we did 10,000 videos of flood education content.

I look back at when I ran across Ryans content for the first time and I look up today being the president of The Flood Insurance Guru with a brand that reaches multiple countries.

I realize it never would have been possible without the mentorship of Ryan Hanley and the friendship he gives me everyday.

You can hope to come close but no one will ever beat the original Ryan Hanley.

So to him I say thank you for doing what others would not.

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

Agency Intelligence not artificial intelligence I remember the first time I heard those words as I tuned into the Agency Intelligence podcast in 2017. The host Jason Cass talked about transforming an industry, changing agent lives, and their families futures.

Many podcasts make promises all day long but never deliver on them. The moment Jason came on the air I could tell that this podcast was different. What I didn't know was how Jason would change my agency and life forever over the next two years. If you told me Jason would become one of my biggest supporters and friends in the insurance industry I probably would have laughed at you.

Why would this famous guy who had one of the first ever insurance podcast waste time with a small guy or agency like The Flood Insurance Guru?

Well thats exactly who Jason is.

If you asked me to think of one word that describes Jason about 1000 come to find but the first one that I think of is relationships.

Relationships mean so much to Jason whether it be the relationships he has with his family, his church, his mission work in Cuba or the insurance industry.

Fast forward to 2020 and I have now had the opportunity to be a guest twice on the Agency Intelligence podcast.

This podcast really helped get our name out there but that wasn't the goal of the podcast. It was more about helping people understand flood insurance. Before we realized it though we realized that we both had some mental illness struggles that we had overcome. Mine was a severe learning disability and Jason's is one that he talks about on his podcast. You definitely want to tune to hear his story on it. Maybe you have the same struggles or know someone who does.

So let's get to the good part and that is how Jason is changing lives across the country. Today I will tell you how he changed my life, and not just through the airways.

In 2018 I made this bold decision to walk away from doing your typical auto and home insurance to focus on flood insurance.

Most people said I was crazy. I even heard that from family and friends. Not Jason though he said you are on to something. You are going to look up in a few years and you are going to say how in the world did that happen?

He said but you have to stay focused you have to focus so much on this one thing that people can not ignore you.

This is when I started my content journey of video, podcast, and blogging. So it's kind of ironic that I am writing a blog about how Jason has impacted my life.

This two year journey has been the toughest journey of my career. There have been so many days where I felt defeated and ready to give up. So many of these days just so happen to be days that Jason would release a new podcast.

If you want to catch it it comes out on Tuesdays and Fridays.

It's almost like these podcasts were created just for me. It would be about the exact issue that I was facing. The podcast would help me refocus so much, where I could keep pushing forward. I remember getting a message from Jason earlier this week that said keep pushing forward. It meant so much to me. One reason is I didn't have many friends growing up and really didn't know what friendship was until college.

In 2019 I had the opportunity to meet Jason for the first time in New Orleans at a conference. I remember my legs being weak. 

What would I say to a man that has had such an impact on my life?

As I walked up and introduced myself I knew right away that when this man speaks you listen.

As this journey has continued in 2020 we have always brainstormed on how do we make that bigger impact?

Jason is always talking about catching whales but we all know it's easier than it looks. On this particular episode of the podcast Jason introduced his listeners to a man named David Carothers.

Harbor sign pointing toward landing in Provincetown, Massachusetts, for whale-watching tours

David is master at the commercial insurance game and he is someone else that has also changed my life forever. We will discuss him in another blog.

In 2018 if you told me that I would ignore premium and focus on revenue, I would tell you premium is how people get paid.

You see this is another way how Jason has helped me change my mind set. Jason has always been big on purpose and if anyone lives the purpose driven life it's Jason Cass. Everyone has a different purpose and you just have to find yours.

I truly believe Jason has found his by changing lives through the airwaves.

Ours is changing the world through flood education.

So when you are facing a giant wall make sure to surround yourself with great mentors like Jason Cass. You are going to need help climbing this wall and its people like this that can help guide you to the top. More importantly its people like this that can help you get up when you fall.

To end this blog I want to thank Jason for his support but most importantly for his friendship.

Thats Jason Cass and thats how he is transforming lives.

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com