Agent FAQs

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Insurance Policies

Q. Why should I offer earthquake insurance to my residential insurance customers?

A. In California, a residential insurance policy doesn’t cover earthquake damage. A CEA policy can:

  • Protect your policyholders from financial loss
  • Help your policyholders replace damaged or destroyed personal items
  • Be the difference between having the money to rebuild/repair a home, or having to take out a loan or trying to cover all costs themselves
  • Provide loss of use coverage if your policyholder can’t access their home due to an earthquake
Q. How can I help my insureds be better prepared for an earthquake?
A. You can help them: 
Q. My insured’s home survived the last earthquake, why should I offer them earthquake insurance?
A. Since every earthquake is different, a home that was spared in one earthquake can be badly damaged or completely destroyed by the next. 
Q. My client tells me they can’t afford earthquake insurance. What can I tell them?
A. Since 1996, construction costs have increased over 140%, yet CEA has lowered its rates by a combined 55%. In addition, starting in 2016, CEA began offering expanded coverage choices and more deductible options. With these more flexible policies, it’s easier for you to help your client choose a CEA policy that fits their needs and budget. If they’re a homeowner, make sure they know about Homeowners Choice, which lets them cover just the dwelling itself, or have separate deductibles for dwelling and personal property.
Q. If there’s a damaging earthquake, won’t the government pay for my insureds to rebuild?
A. Government assistance, if available, is limited. The maximum FEMA grant available in 2018 is just $34,000. The average FEMA payout after the 2014 South Napa earthquake was just $2,670. The goal of a grant is not to return a home to its pre-disaster condition. And while loans for rebuilding houses or replacing personal property are sometimes offered, they must be paid back with interest, just like a mortgage. 
Q. My client wants different billing options. What should I tell them?
A. The participating residential insurer who you work for is responsible for deciding what payment methods and schedules they want to offer your clients. Make sure you’re aware of all payment methods and installments your company offers, and work to find the best option for your clients’ needs.
Q. Does CEA offer stand-alone policies?

A. No. However, since a CEA policy must be with the same participating residential insurance company that the standard residential (fire) policy is with, you can expand your business by explaining to your insured why adding a CEA earthquake insurance policy is beneficial for their financial recovery. 

If you’re an independent agent, remember that mixing and matching carriers is not allowed—the residential policy and the CEA policy must both be under the same carrier. 

Homeowners

Q. How can I help my homeowner client choose the best CEA earthquake policy for their needs and budget?
A. Use CEA’s premium calculator for agents to help your client find a policy that works best for them. You can play around with coverage limits and deductible options, and talk them through their coverage choices (such as all coverages bundled together under one deductible or separated out for our Homeowners Choice policy) to make sure they have the policy that fits their needs.
Q. How does the deductible work for CEA’s homeowners policies?

A. Your insured does not have to pay their deductible out of pocket to receive payment on a claim. The deductible is subtracted from their covered damage, so they don’t have to pay any of the deductible up front before receiving their claim payment. 

Both standard Homeowners and Homeowners Choice offer deductibles ranging from 5-25%. With the standard policy, all of your insured’s coverages are together under one deductible. With Homeowners Choice, they can choose to have separate deductibles for their dwelling and personal property. And if earthquake damage meets the dwelling deductible, the personal property deductible is waive

Q. Are there any discounts for homeowners?
A. Yes—if your insured’s home was built before 1979 and is on a raised foundation, then they may qualify for up to a 20% premium discount with a retrofit verification. Learn more about this hazard reduction discount on our Premium Discounts page.
Q. Is my client’s house at risk from an earthquake?
A. There are thousands of known faults in California, and scientists continue to discover new ones. Since earthquakes can happen anywhere in California, damage to your client’s home and personal property is always possible. Check to see earthquake risk near you and your client and help them take steps to get prepared, which includes purchasing the best earthquake policy to meet their needs and budget.

Condo

Q. How does the deductible work for CEA’s condominium policies?
A. Your insured does not have to pay their deductible out of pocket to receive payment on a claim. The deductible is subtracted from their covered damage, so they don’t have to pay any of the deductible up front before receiving their claim payment. And remember that Loss of Use never has a deductible.
Q. Do CEA condo unit policies offer loss assessment coverage?
A. Yes. Loss Assessment coverage can be added to your insured’s CEA condo policy and has options up to $100,000 for an individual unit owner to help cover the cost of special assessments their Home Owners Association (HOA) may assess for the cost of repairing the unit structures, or may be used towards the HOA’s master policy deductible. For all terms and conditions please read the CEA condominium policy.
Q. Is my client’s condo unit at risk from an earthquake?
A. There are thousands of known faults in California, and scientists continue to discover new ones. Since earthquakes can happen anywhere in California, damage to your client’s condo unit and personal property is always possible. Check to see earthquake risk near you and your client and help them take steps to get prepared, which includes purchasing the best earthquake policy to meet their needs and budget.
 
Q. How can I help my condo-unit owner client choose the best CEA earthquake policy for their needs and budget?
A. Use CEA’s premium calculator for agents to help your condo client find a policy that works best for them. You can play around with coverage limits and deductible options, and add the coverage choices they’re interested in, to make sure they have the policy that fits their needs.

Mobile Home

Q. How does the deductible work for CEA’s mobilehome and manufactured homeowners policies?

A. Your insured does not have to pay their deductible out of pocket to receive payment on a claim. The deductible is subtracted from their covered damage, so they don’t have to pay any of the deductible up front before receiving their claim payment. 

Both standard Homeowners and Homeowners Choice offer deductibles ranging from 5-25%. With the standard policy, all of your insured’s coverages are together under one deductible. With Homeowners Choice, they can choose to have separate deductibles for their dwelling and personal property. And if earthquake damage meets the dwelling deductible, the personal property deductible is waived.

Q. Are there any discounts for mobilehome owners?
A. Yes. If your insured’s mobilehome has been reinforced by an earthquake-resistant bracing system certified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), then they may receive a 23% discount on their CEA earthquake insurance premium. Learn more about this discount on our Premium Discounts page.
Q. Is my client’s mobilehome or manufactured home at risk from an earthquake?
A. There are thousands of known faults in California, and scientists continue to discover new ones. Since earthquakes can happen anywhere in California, damage to your client’s home and personal property is always possible. Check to see earthquake risk near you and your client and help them take steps to get prepared, which includes purchasing the best earthquake policy to meet their needs and budget.
Q. How can I help my mobilehome or manufactured homeowner client choose the best CEA earthquake policy for their needs and budget?
A. Use CEA’s premium calculator for agents to help your mobilehome client find a policy that works best for them. You can play around with coverage limits and deductible options, and talk them through their coverage choices (such as all coverages bundled together under one deductible or separated out for our Homeowners Choice policy) to make sure they have the policy that fits their needs.

Renters

Q. How does the deductible work for CEA’s renters policies?
A. Your insured does not have to pay their deductible out of pocket to receive payment on a claim. The deductible is subtracted from their covered damage, so they don’t have to pay any of the deductible up front before receiving their claim payment. And remember that Loss of Use never has a deductible.
Q. Does a CEA renters policy cover more than personal property?
A. Yes! A CEA renters policy includes personal property coverage, along with loss of use coverage and emergency repairs coverage. Emergency Repairs will cover up to $1,000 to make your insured’s home safe, such as repairing broken windows or removing broken glass. And Loss of Use pays for the additional living expenses necessary to maintain your insured’s normal standard of living, up to the coverage limit they selected. And it never has a deductible! 
Q. Is my client at risk from an earthquake?
A. There are thousands of known faults in California, and scientists continue to discover new ones. Since earthquakes can happen anywhere in California, damage to your client’s rental home and personal property, and that damage forcing them to move out, is always possible. Check to see earthquake risk near you and your client and help them take steps to get prepared, which includes purchasing the best earthquake policy to meet their needs and budget.
Q. How can I help my renter client choose the best CEA earthquake policy for their needs and budget?
A. Use CEA’s premium calculator for agents to help your client who rents find a policy that works best for them. You can play around with coverage limits and deductible options to make sure they have the personal property and loss of use coverage that fits their needs.

Agent Training

Q. Why should I take a CEA agent-training seminar?
A. With CEA’s available training options, you’ll be ready for any CEA earthquake insurance question that comes your way. Not only will it make you a valuable resource to your policyholders, but you’ll reap many benefits as well: 
  • Customer retention: The more insurance products you can offer and expertly discuss, the less likely your customers will look for another agent. And since the retention rate for CEA policies is about 90%, it makes sense to train up on CEA earthquake insurance. 
  • ​Growing your book of business: On average, 9 out of 10 of your clients need earthquake insurance, so there is potential for increased commission.  
  • Free marketing support: One of the best aspects of being CEA-trained is access to our Marketing Value Program (MVP). By maintaining your MVP eligibility, you'll continue to have access to free direct-mailers, new policyholder kits, free promotional items (with new items added monthly), and other great resources. 
Q. What is covered in a CEA agent-training seminar?
A. We offer free CEA earthquake policy training, which includes an in-depth review of our policies, a full comparison of our standard and Choice homeowners policies, policy enhancements, information about how the deductible is applied, and overcoming objections. Sign up for a training today
Q. Do I have to be a licensed agent to take agent training?
A. We encourage anyone who handles or discusses CEA policies, including customer service staff, to attend an agent training seminar. If you have a valid California property license at the time you successfully complete the course, you can receive continuing education (CE) credits. If you receive your California property license after completing the training seminar, you would need to re-take the course to receive CE credits.
Q. How many times can I take an agent-training course?
A. You can take the training seminar as many times as you like, but courses can only be completed to earn CE credit if the completion dates are in a different two-year license term. You can check the status of your license with the California Department of Insurance (CDI)
Q. What happens if I arrive late to a CEA training?
A. For an in-person training, we recommend that you arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the training to complete any registration paperwork required by the California Department of Insurance (CDI).  

Webinar attendees should allow sufficient time prior to the start of the training to make sure their systems are compatible with the webinar program. 

For any of the trainings we offer, if you arrive after the start of class, you are welcome to stay for the remainder. But, CE credits will not be provided if you arrive more than 15 minutes late. Please discuss this with your instructor after the class has concluded. 
Q. If I only attend part of agent training, can I get partial credit?
A. No. The California Department of Insurance approves continuing education (CE) courses for a specific number of credit hours, so you must attend the entire course to receive credit. Partial credit is not allowed.
Q. How long does it take for my CE credits to post?
A. We usually report CE credits to the California Department of Insurance  a few days after the training concludes, but it can take up to 30 days. 

Marketing Value Program

Q. What is MVP?
A. Created exclusively for CEA-trained agents, the Marketing Value Program (MVP) helps you market your services to your potential earthquake policy customers:  
  • Free sales tips and tools
  • Free postage-paid direct mail pieces to send to customers
  • Free promotional items, like go-bags, and other CEA-related items to give to your customers
  • Free earthquake preparedness starter kits for every new CEA policy you issue
Q. How can I participate in the MVP?
A. To become a MVP member, you need to:  
Q. Do you have a newsletter?
A. Yes, we do! CEA-trained agents get access to our monthly MVP newsletter, which provides agents with recent earthquake news, updates on new store items and marketing support, and information about CEA products. If you’d like to begin receiving the newsletter, sign up for an in-person, online, or webinar agent training course.

Agent Store

Q. Where can I find the earthquake preparedness starter kits for my new CEA policyholders?

A. As an MVP agent, you are now able to order Agent Sales Kits (formerly known as New Policyholder Kits) in the MVP store. The kits make excellent CEA earthquake insurance marketing tools and are a great way to increase your CEA policy sales. Quantities for each agent are limited. The Agent Sales Kit is in the MVP store, free to all MVP agents.

Q. Where do I order the direct mailers to send to my clients, or find sales items?
A. Once you have signed up for the MVP, simply log in to order your FREE direct mailers or sales items. You can place one order per day and all items are FREE! 
Q. Will my new policyholder automatically receive an earthquake preparedness kit?
A. No. If you order your new policyholder an emergency preparedness starter kit, CEA will then send the kit directly to your new policyholder on your behalf. 

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