Aiding clients after disaster: From insurance advice to retirement fund strategies

Mother Nature sometimes has a cruel way of reminding us how much power she has. Even as parts of New Orleans are still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hurricane Harvey is devastating large parts of Texas. Once the floods subside, residents will be trying to piece their lives back together.

How can you as a financial advisor assist clients who are suffering? And what can you do to prepare for an event closer to home?

Bloomberg News

GRASPING THE IMPACT
Extensive damage caused by severe weather, or losing a home completely, is devastating on many levels. Assuming no one has lost their life, the financial implications of losing one’s largest asset are coupled with the emotional toll of losing many day-to-day and prized possessions.

Clients will most likely be in shock for days. They may go through stages of grief if they have lost their home and possessions, exacerbated by the lack of a timeline of how long recovery will take. They’ll need expert guidance from many professionals, and you, their financial advisor, are one of them.

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Don’t assume — no matter how strong the relationship — that you know what clients will need. Ask them about their situation and listen actively.

One role you have is to listen carefully. Don’t jump into a fix-it mode. Don’t assume — no matter how strong the relationship — that you know what clients will need. Ask them about their situation and listen actively. The conversations will change in topic and emotion from the initial days to the ensuing months as the clients work through the rebuilding process, so be prepared for this to be an ongoing discussion.

USE YOUR NETWORK
If you happen to know of disaster recovery specialists, now is the time to bring them into your clients’ lives. If you don’t, start networking to build such relationships.

I have a personal relationship with a local team at ServiceMaster Kwik…

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