Extreme weather is, unfortunately, becoming the norm in many parts of the country. The severity of hurricanes continues to increase, flooding regularly happens in places where it used to be uncommon, and so on. Now there is significant debate in the insurance industry and even the public sector about what kind of liability problems this presents overall, and at least some of that focus could end up landing on the engineers that designed drainage systems and other things that could end up failing and causing significant damage. As such, it might be important for insurance agents to explain to them the importance of robust liability insurance as a vital part of their business.
There have been many reports about the quality of infrastructure in the U.S. – from bridges and dams to drainage systems and roadways – and most of those reports show that things are not being adequately maintained. With severe weather taking a greater toll, that could increase the risk of failure significantly, according to a report from Environment and Energy Publishing. At some point, these failures are likely to lead to lawsuits – this is a generally agreed-upon fact in the insurance industry – and that could potentially lead to some uncomfortable questions about who, ultimately, is responsible for those problems.
“I think it will,” David Dubin, an attorney based in Detroit, told the publication. “Everyone’s on notice that the climate is changing, that you’re going to experience these problems more often, and that you can’t just keep hiding behind the act-of-God defense.”
What’s at issue?
So the question becomes whether this is a problem caused by engineers, officials in charge of overseeing the maintenance of infrastructure, or potentially even the politicians who vote on funding those programs, the report said. Right now, there really doesn’t seem to be any firm answer as to which way things are likely to move. However, engineers in particular might want to make sure they have robust liability insurance in the event of a lawsuit being brought against them, even if they never intended for the structures they engineered to be used as it is, or to go so long without proper maintenance.
However, critics say that, whether it’s their fault or not, some engineers haven’t done the best job of designing things like sewer systems that can keep up with increasing environmental demands, the report said. That might be another issue they need to address going forward.
What can agents do?
The more insurance agents can do to help engineers and other clients understand the risk that might soon increase in their sectors, the better off both they and those clients are likely to be. On the one hand, that could give those engineers a better chance to protect themselves financially from whatever issues might arise in the future, while also helping to build a better relationship between client and agent. That, in turn, will typically lead to higher customer satisfaction ratings and, therefore, likely increase client retention as well.