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Tuesday, March 09 2010

The record-breaking floods that swept across the Midwest only two years ago serve as a compelling reminder of the damage spring flooding can cause. In 2008, significant rainfall caused devastating damage to homes and businesses. Federal disasters were declared in nine Midwest states as some river crests exceeded 500-year levels, and dams and levees were breached across the region. Unfortunately, extensive flooding is nothing new to home and business owners in the Midwest. Fifteen years earlier, the Great Midwest Floods of 1993 still represents one of the largest floods in U.S. history. From April through October, nine Midwest states suffered widespread flood devastation. The result was nearly $273 million in insured flood damage and an estimated $15 billion in total damages.  However, even with these costly reminders, today less than 5 percent of homeowners are protected by flood insurance.

Every year, the Midwest is at a heightened flood risk during the spring and summer months as warm days, heavy rains and severe storms sweep across the region. It is critical that you reach out to your customers now to communicate their increased flood risk and encourage them to protect themselves with flood insurance – only a flood insurance policy will provide financial protection against flood damage. Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage. And remember, those outside of a high-risk area should still consider flood insurance because approximately 25 percent of all flood damage occurs in moderate-to-low risk areas. Remind these customers that they may be eligible for a special low-cost Preferred Risk Policy, starting at as little as $119 a year.

Customers can now learn more about their individualized flood risks by visiting an interactive flood map at Developed by FloodSmart, in partnership with NOAA, this map depicts historical information about these disastrous Midwest floods, among many others, and the Web page provides visitors with more information about the financial costs of flooding, how to get a policy, and in the unfortunate situation where a flood event occurs, how to recover.

Below are talking points that will help you initiate the conversation with your customers about their heightened risk during spring flood season and the importance of flood insurance.

Flooding is the most common natural disaster.

  • Rapid melting of the heavy snowpack from the past winter can overwhelm local rivers and streams, stress levees and increase the flood threat throughout the spring.
  • Flash floods, inland flooding and seasonal storms are always possible and can bring floods to every part of the region.
  • Just a couple of inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

Most homeowners insurance does not cover floods.

  • Only flood insurance financially protects your home and your personal property from floods.
  • Flood insurance compensates policyholders for all covered losses, and as opposed to a disaster loan, there is no payback requirement.
  • Once purchased, there is typically a 30-day waiting period for the policy to become effective, so don’t wait for the rains and warm temperatures…it may be too late.

You can purchase flood insurance no matter what your flood risk is.

  • Whether you live in a high-risk or moderate-to- low risk area, you can purchase flood insurance as long as your community participates in the NFIP.
  • About 25 percent of all flood insurance claims come from moderate-to- low risk areas.
  • You are eligible for flood insurance if your house has been flooded before, and you can purchase it even if your mortgage doesn't require it

You may be eligible for a lower cost Preferred Risk Policy if you live in a moderate- to-low risk area.

  • For just $119 a year, you can purchase a minimum of $20,000 building and $8,000 contents coverage.
  • Business owners can purchase $50,000 building coverage and $50,000 contents coverage (per building) for just $550 per year.

Should a flood event occur in your community, it is important that you know what to do in response to a flood watch or warning, as well as the important steps to take as you return home.

  • In advance of a possible flood event, remember to:

    • Make a flood plan.
    • Keep important papers in a safe, waterproof place.
    • Plan evacuation routes.
    • Itemize and take pictures of possessions.
  • Check for damage, including structural damage, before re-entering your home. Contact the appropriate professionals immediately if you suspect damage to water, gas, electric and/or sewer lines.
  • Call your agent who handles your flood insurance to file a claim. Have the necessary information with you when you contact them.
  • Work with the adjuster to calculate the damage in order to prepare an accurate estimate. To make filing your claim easier, take photographs of any water in the house and damaged personal property.
  • Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their age and value where possible. If possible, have receipts for those lost items available for the adjuster. To prevent mold, remove wet contents immediately.
  • Gather any documents, such as photographs, receipts and itemized lists you made prior to the flood.
  • Access the American Red Cross free Repairing Your Flooded Home guide on their Web site. This guide will help you as you first re-enter your damaged home.
  • For FEMA Disaster Assistance, call 1-800-621-3362. For general flood insurance questions call 1-800-427-4661.
  • For additional information about flood risk and flood insurance visit   

Below, please find additional documents to assist you as you recover from flood damage.

Please email us at with any questions about NFIP, FloodSmart and our agent programs.

Posted by: Chris H. AT 01:41 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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