Considering the havoc Hurricane Harvey is wreaking on the east coast of Texas, we thought we’d share this very timely article from Selective Insurance. Flood insurance is not covered by most homeowners or business owners policies. If you do not have a separate flood policy, you likely have NO flood coverage. Contact one of our specialists today to discuss your needs and get a quote.
Are Extreme Floods the New Normal?
Flooding can be a devastating event. In one fell swoop, water can take out everything from a home’s foundation to all the possessions a family owns. Historically, extreme flooding has been relatively rare outside of flood zones scattered across the United States. But as of late, flooding trends are evolving in a new way.
From 2015 to 2016, numerous extreme floods struck in relatively low-risk areas of the country, decimating properties in West Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Louisiana – causing billions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses alike. And, due to the nature of the locations affected by the unstoppable force of water, existing infrastructure had been largely ineffective.
But why is this happening? And is it the new normal?
The Growing Pattern of Extreme Flooding
Flooding can happen anywhere. But some areas such as South Florida are the site of numerous hurricanes throughout history ─ are thus better prepared than others.
Flood events are now growing more prevalent in areas that have not typically seen dramatic flooding, leading to massive damage, including road closures, bridge failures and sewer system issues. Largely caused by prolonged storms, this new type of flooding can prove to be critically serious, especially for communities with limited resources. Known as “extreme floods,” these spontaneous and aggressive weather events are causing problems from coast to coast.
Take, for example, the Louisiana floods of 2016. While hurricane flooding is not unheard of in Louisiana – Hurricane Katrina in 2005 led to 1,800 deaths and more than $160 billion in damages – major rains are not common in the 20 affected Louisiana parishes. These 2016 floods, which extended from August 12th to August 22nd, led to 13 deaths and more than 20 inches of rain in certain areas. These events can come about in a matter of days as a front develops, making it hard for affected areas to properly prepare and respond.
Louisiana is not alone, either. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has been responding to an increasing number of incidents, providing aid in areas in which flooding is not common. As these costs continue to rise, professionals in the weather and natural sciences fields are beginning to wonder how much longer these trends will continue.
The Consequences of Flooding
Flooding effects homeowners and business owners. Flood damages to homes displace residents, reducing property taxes from those who leave and do not come back.
Businesses are hurt heavily by flooding as well: 40% of small businesses never reopen after experiencing a natural disaster, including floods. This kind of mass closure can be crippling for a small town, compromising the resources available to residents.
While engineering improvements are at the root of staving off the consequence of a flood, flood insurance is a valuable tool that can help protect homes and businesses, including personal property, businesses and business property (if contents coverage is purchased).
In recent years, more than 20% of flood claims came from low-risk to moderate-risk locations. Flood policies cost an average of about $700 per year through the National Flood Insurance Program. With an average flood claim totaling about $38,000, flood insurance can prove valuable.
About Overmyer Hall Associates
Overmyer Hall Associates is one of the fastest growing agencies in the country, quickly becoming one of the largest property and casualty insurance agencies in Central Ohio. Recently awarded Columbus Business First "Fast 50" and "Best Places to Work" awards and Columbus CEO Magazine recognized it as the “Best Insurance Broker” in Columbus, Ohio. Overmyer Hall Associates provides clients with insurance and risk management, specializing in Commercial Insurance, Surety Bonds, and Home & Auto Insurance. www.oh-ins.com