Archive for the ‘flood insurance’ Category

Video: Flood Insurance PSA

August 31st, 2012 by | Comments Off | Filed in flood insurance, friday filmstrips

We know! We talked about flood insurance last week, but it’s an important issue, especially with the likelihood of El Nino forming within the next few months and the potential for California and much of the southwest to end up drenched as a result. This FEMA PSA about flood insurance is from 2009, but it’s still incredibly relevant.


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New Map Means More Fargo Property Owners Might Need Flood Insurance

August 24th, 2012 by | Comments Off | Filed in flood insurance, homeowners insurance

While Texas and many of the states in the southern half of the Great Plains and in the South itself are still suffering under extreme drought conditions, even after last week’s rain, several thousand property owners in Fargo, North Dakota are learning that they may at risk of floods, and might require federal flood insurance, due to a newly-drawn flood plain map.

Roughly five hundred structures are affected by the current flood plain maps, but under FEMA’s proposed update there are at least 2,300 more properties that will require insurance. According to April Walker, an engineer with the City of Fargo, there might be another 5,000 more properties that are within 25 feet of the new flood plain, thus requiring flood insurance as well, depending on the requirements of their mortgage lenders.

To discuss the new map and the possible ramifications of it, officials from FEMA, the National Flood Insurance Program and the City of Fargo have scheduled public meetings on September 11th and 12th.

Adding to the confusion, there are permanent flood projects in process that, once finalized and executed, could make flood insurance unnecessary after all.

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Half of Arkansas Under Exceptional Drought

August 10th, 2012 by | Comments Off | Filed in fire insurance, flood insurance, homeowners insurance, hurricane insurance, insurance facts, insurance news

The various weather services which serve the United States all say that El Niño is coming within the next two months. For some people along the West Coast, that’s bad news, but for much of the South and Midwest, the increased chances of rain, and the cold, wet winter can’t get here soon enough.

Arkansas is a prime example of a state in bad need of some precipitation. How bad? Well, according to a new map released yesterday, over 53% of the state is in an “exceptional” drought – the U.S. Drought Monitor’s most severe classification. That’s scary, but what’s even scarier is that a week ago, only 44% of the state was in that most severe classification, though there’s still a significant amount of the state (currently 27%) is only one level “better” – at “extreme drought” status, while the rest of the state is in “severe” drought, except for a small part – 4% – that’s merely in “moderate” drought.

Arkansas isn’t alone, of course. Wildfires in Oklahoma have been out of control this summer, due to the significant lack of rain, and much of Texas is in the “extreme” and “exceptional” categories as well.

What does this have to do with insurance? A lot, actually. Look for an increased number of crop insurance claims, fire insurance claims, and even health insurance claims (since many people believe limiting their personal water intake is necessary, even though most cities only require a strict cut-back on irrigation). Last year, drought conditions began to affect the cattle industry as well, causing many Texas ranchers to sell off, or kill, significant portions of their stock in order to feed and water the remaining animals.

No one wishes hurricanes on anyone – we’ve seen the devastation they can do – but for the parched plains, Atlantic Hurricanes during the summer and El Niño during the fall are necessary balms, sending outer rain bands and wet weather to ground – and people – who badly need it.

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Stormy Weather? 7-Day Hurricane Warnings a Possibility

March 16th, 2012 by | Comments Off | Filed in flood insurance, homeowners insurance, hurricane insurance

Bill Read, director of the National Hurricane Center spoke to reporters at a conference in South Carolina earlier this month, and predicted that the time will come when we will have reliable hurricane forecasts seven days in advance of a storm, but that that time is still two to five years away.

The National Weather Service, Read pointed out, already issues forecasts for daily weather that are about a week out, but so far, no one is doing so with hurricanes, possibly because panicking about a possible storm could do more harm than good.

“There is plenty of time to recover from a bad decision to play golf on Saturday when it’s Monday; it’s not going to kill you,” Read explained. “If you start moving nursing home patients at seven days (ahead) you could kill them.” He added that while the Hurricane Center does issue five-day forecasts on big storms, they’re not ready to begin issuing seven-day forecasts, and won’t be until there is more confidence in their predictions.

Even so, Read stressed, predictions and warnings are useless if people don’t listen. He told the conference members, “The biggest challenge is to crack the denial. If you haven’t cracked the ‘it won’t happen to me’ thought process, you can do everything else right and they are going to say it won’t happen to me and not do it. If you can get past the denial, the rest of it is not as difficult as you think.”

He also said that there is a definite window for using actual storms as teaching tools. Using last year’s Hurricane Irene, which caused $7 billion in damages and killed 41 people, as an example, he said, “We will have about a five-year window when people are teachable from Irene, and if nothing else happens. I used to think if you were hit once you were good for a generation.”

Research has shown, however, that after a mere five years, memories are softened, and storms don’t seem as bad as they actually were.

Meanwhile, while NOAA doesn’t release it’s predictions for the Atlantic Hurricane Season until May, Read says that early indicators point to an average season, with around eleven named storms, as opposed to last year’s nineteen. He added a caveat to that, however, cautioning that a forecast issued this early is likely to be incorrect.

“My guys don’t think seasonal forecasts have any meaningfulness,” Read said, adding that his organization is focused on warning people, not on predicting weather. As well, he pointed out, the relatively quiet season twenty years ago also included Hurricane Andrew, which caused 26 deaths and $25 billion in damage in south Florida.

Our prediction? If you live anywhere near a coastline, you need to spend time BEFORE hurricane season making sure your homeowners insurance and additional endorsements covers you for wind, rain, and flood damage.

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NFIP Renewed Again

December 29th, 2011 by | Comments Off | Filed in flood insurance, world events

Under yet another short-term consolidated appropriations bill, H.R. 2055, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and signed into law by President Obama on the last business day before Christmas, the National Flood Insurance Program has been renewed again – this time until May 31, 2012.

Had the bill not passed, or the President refused to sign it, the Program would have lost its authority to issue new flood insurance policies or renew existing policies, at midnight on December 23rd.

Representatives of the Big “I” – the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America – are pleased with the reauthorization, but continue to push for program reforms, and a long-term authorization for the program.

Speaking on behalf of fellow agents and brokers, Charles E. Symington, Jr., the senior vice president for government affairs with the Big “I,” said, “It is important to note that our work on this important issue is far from over and the next few months provide ample opportunity for Congress to pass long-term extension and reform legislation that provides the necessary certainty for consumers.”

He also pointed out that traditionally, program extensions were granted in five-year periods in order to help keep the market stable, but that in recent years such extensions have usually been in 30-day to six-month terms.

Big “I” vice president for government affairs, John Prible, also spoke about the reauthorization, saying, “Today’s extension, although greatly appreciated, is just a temporary patch.”

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FEMA Says: TX Fire Victims Need Flood Insurance

December 15th, 2011 by | Comments Off | Filed in flood insurance, insurance news

This may seem counter-intuitive, but FEMA is advising the survivors of last spring and summers’ wildfires in Texas to consider flood insurance on their homes and offices.

Why flood insurance? Because when the wildfires burned away the trees, grasses and other vegetation in the scorched areas, the healthy plant roots that usually soak up a lot of rainwater were also lost. All that charred land means that even normal storm runoff has the potential to cause mudslides, flooding, and severe erosion.

The risk of wildfire-related flood damage is greatest, of course, for property that actually burned, but it houses and other buildings either below or downstream from the burned areas are at a heightened risk of flooding, as well. In fact, it is just this sort of interconnectedness that makes flooding the most common natural disaster in the United States.

Flood insurance can be obtained through the agent who sold your regular homeowners or renter’s insurance policy.

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Missouri Enacts 2 New Insurance Laws

September 20th, 2011 by | Comments Off | Filed in flood insurance, homeowners insurance, hurricane insurance, tornado insurance

Two new insurance laws went into effect last Friday in Missouri, both of which provide stronger protection for homeowners in the the Show-Me state.

The first law, Senate Bill 101, bars exterior repair contractors, like roofing and siding companies, from offering to cover a prospective client’s insurance deductible in order to make a sale, and also prohibits such companies from negotiating with insurance companies on an insured homeowner’s behalf.

The other law, Senate Bill 132, allows insurance companies to legally set up mobile service centers in storm-damaged areas, to make it easier for affected policyholders to file claims. Under the terms of this law, counties, cities, and other political subdivisions may not restrict insurers from establishing temporary operations. Previously, there were cases where cities and other municipalities wanted new business licenses before mobile service centers were allowed to operate after a weather-related disaster.

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