When Wright Flood identified a unique opportunity in the marketplace for private flood insurance several years ago, they began developing a product to fill the recognized coverage gap. Once the product was developed and carrier Zurich North America was onboard, the first policy was written in less than 10 months, on an admitted program filed & approved in its first state. National Programs’ carrier relationships, in this instance with Zurich, helped significantly speed up the go-to-market launch.
Wright’s private residential flood insurance programs launched in less 10 months with Zurich, thanks to National Programs’ carrier relationships.
“We may have gotten in the door with Zurich, but we wouldn’t have moved to contracts as quickly without the prior relationship that National Programs had with their executive team,” recalls James R. Watje, senior vice president of private flood at Wright National Flood Insurance Services. “National Programs’ carrier relationships helped us hit a homerun with our new product.”
“I was invited to participate in a think-tank meeting with Zurich, along with a few of Brown & Brown and Arrowhead executives, to discuss future underwriting tools, technologies, forward-thinking methodologies, etc.,” he explained. “I introduced the program that our team at Wright had been actively developing. That product is our Residential Private Flood insurance, designed to offer broad coverages with model-based ‘pin-point’ pricing, delivering ease of doing business for agents and profits for our underwriting carriers.
“Zurich immediately showed interest in the program – not only because we had done our homework and have a deep level of knowledge in this space, but also thanks to Brown & Brown’s and Arrowhead’s existing relationships with Zurich,” he added.
Wright’s history in the flood insurance market
To create the private flood program, Wright Flood partnered with a multiple experts, including the premier modeling firm in flood probabilistic financial analysis, while leveraging their own team’s deep experience with this catastrophic peril. Watje joined Wright specifically to develop private products unique in the marketplace, available only through their 15,000-plus agency relationships.
He added, “The Wright Flood team designed and developed the product from ‘ground up’, and then went looking for a carrier.”
Related: How National Programs’ actuarial support helped Wright Specialty gain a new carrier partner
Wright Flood has participated as a WYO (write your own) carrier with the NFIP for over 30 years, and is the largest and most experienced servicing entity for FEMA, with over 20 percent of all flood premiums in the U.S. flowing through the Wright Flood platform.
The new private flood product – Zurich Residential Private Flood Insurance – does not compete directly with NFIP, but instead offers additional flood insurance options to private homeowners that might not be available in the Federal program.
How Wright employed National Programs’ carrier relationships
Wright Flood joined National Programs in 2014, primarily, Watje said, so that the company could continue with autonomy to run its business, but also have the infrastructure, resources, support and scale that Brown & Brown could provide. “It’s the best of both worlds: we continue to run our business; at the same time, we know that resources – claims, underwriting, product development, technology and more – are there to augment and support our activities.”
He went on to explain, “National Programs’ carrier relationships are robust because the teams that run each program have in-depth expertise, experience and background that many times exceed those of our carrier partners. They rely on the fact that we know what we’re doing, because we’ve been entrenched in these niches for years. Plus, many of our teammates were once insurance company employees, so we understand carrier appetites and methodologies. National Programs companies partner with us to gain the agility, the speed to market and the ability to pivot much more quickly than their carrier competitors.”
“We bring our expertise to carriers to help them grow in niches that otherwise they may not have the experience to write in.”
The Zurich Residential Private Flood Insurance Program is currently available in Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey and California. It’s targeted to launch in Maryland and Massachusetts next month, then in three more states this year and another six states in 2022.