ICAE – Washington, DC – Fall 1999 Exchange – Urban Insurance Issues

Outreach and education work in city neighborhoods

Anne Landre is the Executive Director of the Community Insurance Information Center (CIIC) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The organization answers consumer insurance questions and directs outreach efforts to non-profit community-based organizations.

Landre shared the CIIC’s Milwaukee Neighborhood Showcase success story with attendees at the ICAE’s 1999 Fall Exchange in Washington, DC. The CIIC’s unique outreach effort changed the traditional paradigm—instead of educating urban residents on insurance products, her program sought to educate insurers about urban neighborhoods and needs.

The CIIC brought tour buses filled with insurance CEOs, marketing executives, and underwriting managers into Milwaukee’s Washington Heights neighborhood. The goal was to help insurers better understand the impact neighborhood associations and homeowners have on urban areas. Elected representatives from the neighborhood served as guides and community leaders, area teachers, and even the Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance were key partners in the program.

Landre felt the program succeeded in getting insurance professionals to view the urban neighborhoods in a new light.

The CIIC’s next project focuses on Milwaukee’s Hispanic community. It’s primary goals are to provide Spanish publications, educate consumers on auto insurance, and assist in recruiting bilingual workers to local insurance jobs.

William S. Allen Jr., is the Urban Markets & Community Development Manager with Travelers Property Casualty in the greater Richmond, Virginia area. He shared with attendees what his group is doing in Richmond, Virginia and what his counterparts around the country do in urban New Orleans, San Antonio, Dallas, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.

Allen gave several reasons why insurers benefit from working with urban consumers including ease of access, opportunities for mass marketing, community improvements. Communities too, benefit by partnering with insurers to improve consumer knowledge and gain access to mentorship programs which increase minority representation among insurance professionals.

Allen leads a taskforce which works with six targeted cities on specific insurance concerns:

  • Charleston, NC: Wind damage
  • Chicago, IL: Fire damage
  • St. Louis, MO: Fire damage
  • Reno, NV: Theft
  • New York City, NY: Water damage
  • Richmond, VA: Theft

Allen screened a video that illustrated what Travelers loss prevention partnership program does to improve home safety, facilitate repairs in older buildings, and revitalize urban areas. Travelers Home Safety and Crime Prevention Seminars are offered to urban homeowners in an effort to reduce losses and support a 5% premium credit to participants.

Allen says insurers have a responsibility and a duty not just to sell, but to counsel — and companies must educate agents to help them fulfill this responsibility.

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