The CLUE Report: Is it Col. Mustard in the Library with the Rope?

I’ll admit, at this point I’m pretty much mystified by the frequently-discussed yet rarely-seen “CLUE Report.” For those of you even more in the dark than me, “CLUE” is an acronym for “Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange.” Basically its a national database maintained cooperatively by insurers to track claims made on particular properties, as well as claims made by particular persons. Before an insurer will write a policy on a particular property, it will check this database to confirm that the risk assumed by the insurer is reasonable. The insurer will not write a policy for a property with an existing and extensive claim history because the property is a “lemon” on which the insurer will lose money.

To date, I have typically counseled my buyer clients to call their insurance agent to obtain a copy of the CLUE report for the property. Lately it seems that my clients are unable to do so. Some insurers (Geico) have indicated that they don’t even know what a CLUE report is, apparently because some insurers are not members of the Exchange (the “E” in CLUE). Some insurers (most recently Allstate) have told the client to purchase the report at LexisNexis, but apparently you can only purchase a report for the home you currently own.

So my question to the RCG community: How do other agents address this issue? Do you invest the time and energy speaking with the buyer’s selected insurer to eventually obtain a CLUE report? Do you not even tell your clients about CLUE reports because they are of little or no value? Something in between? And are any sellers taking the advice of LexisNexis (which of course sells the reports) and obtaining a CLUE report to be given to poential buyers? Thanks in advance for any insight you care to provide.

Ardell, I look forward to your insightful and informative response; David, I look forward to a tangential point that illuminates some as-yet-unappreciated aspect of the Real Estates; Ray, I look forward to more rank bashing of my brokerage business model.