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Things can really change over 50 years just ask the Kansas City Chiefs that was the last time they had won the super bowl until February 2020. The same thing goes for Wilson county Kansas who on January 8th 2020 got new flood maps for the first time in 50 years.

In this episode of the podcast we want to look at several things

 

  1. Major floods in Wilson county Kansas
  2. The flood zones in Wilson county Kansas
  3. Who will be impacted
  4. The flood insurance options in Wilson county Kansas

Major floods in Wilson county Kansas occurred in 1943, 1945, 1951, 1961, and 1976.

  1. 1943- 50 year flood event
  2. 1945- 200 year flood event
  3. 1951- 100 year flood event
  4. 1961- 10 year flood event
  5. 1976- 5 year flood event

As you can see rivers like falls and Verdigris rivers have caused all kinds of floods in the area through the years. A flood insurance study report was done after the 1976 flood but it was determined that maps did not need to change.

So what are the different flood zones in the Wilson county Kansas area?

You basically have three types of flood zones in the area.

  1. Flood Zone X

 

                   2.  Flood Zone A

                   3.  Flood Zone AE

 

So with these maps being updated who will be impacted? These map changes will impact roughly 12% of the county. It will take about 500 properties and place them in special flood hazard areas. This means they will be moved from non mandatory zones to mandatory zones.

So what are the flood insurance options in Wilson county Kansas. Like most areas across the country you have the National Flood Insurance Program and Private flood insurance available.

Remember as long as a community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program then flood insurance coverage will be available.

Now let's look at a couple different options when it comes to the National Flood Insurance Program. As we mentioned before about 500 properties are being moved from non mandatory areas to mandatory areas.

These particular properties qualify for map revision also called newly mapped rates. These are special flood insurance rates that are offered for the first 12 months after the flood insurance map changed. This is almost like a year one break and after that the rate will continue to adjust until the rate meets the risk properly.

Its important when getting flood insurance quotes that you inform the insurance agent that your map recently changed. If not you could be over charged by more than $1000. This is exactly what we had happen to a client in Iowa in 2019 when their flood maps changed.

So what about the other flood insurance option? Private flood insurance is available.

So what is private flood insurance?

This is flood insurance that is offered by private flood insurance companies. Its important that you know not everyone can get private flood insurance. If you have an FHA loan then you will be required to go through the National Flood Insurance Program.

There can be many benefits to private flood insurance like higher amounts of coverage and significant savings sometimes up to 40%.

So we have looked at the new flood map changes for Wilson county Kansas, the impact, the flood zones, and the flood insurance options.

Maybe you have more questions about what you can do to fight these changes? Make sure to visit our website and check out our Youtube channel where we do daily flood education videos.

 

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Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

You have always heard the grass is not always greener on the other side. This applies to many things in life and flood insurance is no exception.

MPPP-1

This theory as well as the shiny toy or object syndrome can apply to flood insurance in many ways.

In this podcast we discuss those things and more.

 

Let's look at flood insurance and greener grass. We hear from people ever day trying to jump ship from the National Flood Insurance Program to private flood insurance. When they get there they are disappointed because they did not address a few things like

  1. Grandfather policies
  2. Earned premiums
  3. FEMA cancellation rules

 

The first area that many people forget to ask about is grandfathered policies. This is something that is only offered through the National Flood Insurance Program. So what are grandfathered policies?

 

This is when that green grass can turn to brown grass. You see once you cancel or let coverage lapse on a grandfathered policy there is no getting it back. So many times we have seen customers take out a private flood insurance policy that is a few dollars less than the grandfathered rate, but at renewal it doubles because of flood claims in the area.

They try to go back to the National Flood Insurance Program but now they must accept a standard policy. This could be the difference between a $600 policy and a $2500 policy.

This is why if someone has a grandfathered policy it is rare that we recommend cancelling it. There is more to consider than the current price. You need to consider what happens after a claim, and can you transfer that private flood policy to another buyer?

Something else people don't think about is when they have a bad experience. If you wanted to change auto or home insurance you could at any time with no penalty. However private flood insurance does not work this way as there are what is called earned premium.

Most private companies this ranges from 25-50% this means if you decide to leave after a couple of months you are still out that money.

Something else is running to the other side before checking the FEMA cancellation rules. You see FEMA does not allow property owners to switch to the private market midterm. This is considered cancellation reason 26 duplicate policy outside NFIP.

 

The shiny toy or object syndrome can play a major role in flood insurance. Trust me I know I get tricked by shiny objects everyday. When it comes to automation in our business I am always trying something new because of some new feature. The problem is at the end of the day I am no better off. This is the exact problem many property owners have when shopping for flood insurance.

You have these companies that offer these fancy online portals for you to access your documents. The problem is the policy actually excludes more than it includes. So when it comes to getting distracted like this make sure to focus on building coverage, contents coverage, living expenses, and long term pricing stability.

So we have talked about how the grass is not always greener and how shiny toy or object syndrome could get your flood insurance in trouble. Maybe you have further questions about picking the right policy?

Make sure to visit our website or check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel.

 

Contact Us

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

Unless you live under a rock you probably remember the terrible flooding that occurred across the United States in 2019. Alabama property owners fell victim to this flooding in early 2019.

In this episode of the podcast we want to discuss what exactly is causing the flood threat for Alabama and how it is impacting flood insurance availability?

 

November and December 2019 were some unusually wet months. The higher levels of rainfalls in this month helped fill up rivers, lakes, and streams across the state. Then there was January 2020 which was extremely wet.

It almost feels like the twilight zone from 2019 when Alabama suffered from significant flooding. However this flooding is a little bit different. You see in 2019 Alabama got hit with a steady week of rainfall which caused Weise lake and Lake Logan Martin to fill up flooding homes.

Video below from CBS 42 News in Birmingham Alabama shows us some of that damage.

In 2020 the story has been a little bit different, instead of a week of rainfall it has been one moisture filled system after another.

It's similar to what happened in Iowa in 2019 where moisture filled systems caused one flooding event after another.

February 6th might go down as a historical day in Alabama weather history. You had some cities in Alabama that set single day rainfall records. The National Weather Service shows us some of those records from Tuscaloosa to Huntsville Alabama. Some areas received anywhere from 3-5 inches of rain. You put this on top of already full rivers and lakes and you have a major problem.

However it doesn't end there the week of February 10th brought another 4-6 inches of rain causing even more flooding in areas like Birmingham and Huntsville Alabama.

So how exactly is this impacting flood insurance options in Alabama?

Well if you have watched our videos or read our blogs then you probably know there are two options for flood insurance in Alabama.

You have the National Flood Insurance Program also known as NFIP, as almost everybody knows about and you have private flood insurance.

Let's look at NFIP first thankfully when this type of flooding occurs it does not impact getting flood insurance through it. However the private flood insurance market is a different story. As of February 7th 2020 many of those companies have moratoriums in areas like Huntsville.

So what does this mean for you?

Well this means if you decide to get flood insurance through one of these companies they will make you wait until these moratoriums are lifted.

We just had this happen to someone who was building an apartment complex in Huntsville. They could not get the private option they wanted and had to go with the NFIP option. This had a big impact on them because the rate was higher and NFIP will not let you cancel midterm for a better option.

So what can you do then?

Well in these situations the only real options are the NFIP and the private carriers that do not have these moratoriums.

So will they allow you to back date coverage when the moratorium is lifted?

No they will only start coverage on the date the policy is completed. They may even make you wait 15 days depending on if it is for a loan closing or not.

Have questions about flood insurance in Alabama, then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation which means we can help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property against flooding.

 

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Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

 

IMG_1998

When local residents of Covington GA think about flooding their home town normally doesn't come to mind. What normally comes to mind are areas like Jackson Lake or Lake Oconee where they may have a lake house.

However flooding issues in Covington Georgia during winter and spring months is starting to change how people look at flooding in Covington Georgia.

Before we can look at the flooding that has occurred we need to know the flood zones in the area.

Like most areas outside the coast Covington Georgia has three main flood zones.

  1. Flood zone X
  2. Flood zone A
  3. Flood zone AE

Flood zone X is the non mandatory flood zone where flood insurance is not required. The majority of Covington GA and Newton county fall within this area.

 

Flood zone A which is considered to be the special flood hazard area but normally doesn't have a base flood elevation includes areas like West Clark Street and Bob Williams Parkway.

 

Flood zone AE which is considered to be the special flood hazard area as well but has a base flood elevation includes areas like Main Street in Porterdale along the Yellow River. This also includes what is known as the Lofts.

So now that we know the three main flood zones for Covington and Newton county Georgia. Let's look at when flooding is likely to occur in the area.

You generally have two times a year where flooding becomes an issue but they normally occur for different reasons. In the winter months you normally have frontal systems that stall out for several days dropping a lot of rain over those days. Then in the spring you have flash flooding that occurs normally from a lot of rainfall from severe thunderstorms.

The flooding that is occurring right now in Covington Georgia is a direct result of a frontal system stalling out dropping several inches over the course of a few days.

However what is magnifying this problem is December was extremely wet keeping water tables and rivers like the Yellow River full.

yr photo

As a result this additional rainfall simply has no where to go.

An area that has seen this happen time and time again is the Riverside RV park along the Yellow River.

riverside

In December 2015 Covington Georgia saw significant flooding along highway 278 as a result of the same kind of system.

So when these systems come through Covington Georgia what can you do to protect yourself?

Well the first step is knowing your flood zone. Know if you live in a special flood hazard area and the history of flooding in that area.

The next thing is to always carry flood insurance, but i thought that I could only get flood insurance if it was required by my bank?

This is one of the biggest myths about flood insurance. It's also one of the things that flood victims in Houston Texas, Nebraska City Nebraska, and Tulsa Oklahoma knew before losing everything to a flood in 2019.

So what are the flood insurance options in Covington Georgia?

It's important to understand that all parts of Newton county participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. So this means that NFIP and private flood insurance are available.

So who qualifies for what?

Since this is a participating community everyone qualifies for the National Flood Insurance Program.You really have 7 NFIP communities in the Covington area.

  1. Newton county
  2. City of Porterdale
  3. City of Mansfield
  4. City of Oxford
  5. City of Covington
  6. City of Newborn
  7. City of Social Circle

Areas like Riverside RV park that received repeated flooding may have this as their only option.

Generally one of the things that can disqualify you for private flood insurance in Covington Georgia are claims. Some carriers only care if there have been claims within the last 5 years and others will disqualify you if there has ever been a claim on the property.

Something else thats important to know is that you may only qualify for private flood insurance if you have a non FHA loan. FHA is the only loan type in Covington GA that requires all flood insurance to go through the National Flood Insurance Program.

So what about coverages?

There can be a big difference in coverages between the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance. One difference is the National Flood Insurance Program maxes residential building coverage out at $250,000 while private flood can go into the millions.

It's important to know that since NFIP maxes residential coverage out at $250,000 that banks can not currently require more coverage than that per structure.

So what about protecting your belongings? Thats one of the biggest things we hear from flood victims everyday. They say what cost me so much money was replacing my belongings.

The National Flood Insurance Program maxes personal belongings coverage out at $100,000 while private flood insurance generally will offer up to $500,000 in most situations.

So we have discussed what flood insurance options are available in Covington Georgia? The real question everybody wants to know is how long do i have to wait.

It's not uncommon for people to wait until its flooding to try to obtain flood insurance. However most people are unaware of the different wait periods. There is really only one situation where there is no wait period for flood insurance and that is when it is for a loan closing.

Outside of this the National Flood Insurance Program has a standard 30 day wait period. Private flood insurance companies generally have a wait period that ranges from 5 to 15 days.

So it's important to understand that if you wait until its flooding in Covington Georgia or other areas of newton county to get flood insurance then it might be too late.

We mentioned what else you can do to prepare earlier. One thing is understanding your flood insurance policy. You may have loss avoidance built into your policy.

This helps reimburse up to a $1000 for preventative measures like putting sand bags around your property or moving belongings to higher ground.

So maybe you have more questions about other flood prone areas in Covington Georgia or Newton county? Maybe you want to see what flood insurance options are available to you? Then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel or Facebook page.

 

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Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

 

Clogged Drains, Interstates, and homes, what in the world do these things have in common?

Well glad you asked they are all connected by FLOODING!

Boat over Marajo Canal in Belem do Para, Brazil

Flooding has occurred in 2019 and 2020 on interstates and communities as a result of clogged drains. The flooding in these communities has started to have a major impact on property owners. We want to discuss two particular scenarios and how the flooding could have been prevented.

Let's look at drainage issues that have occurred in Germantown Tennessee, Toledo Ohio, Augusta Georgia, and Houston Texas.

Then let's review how interstate flooding is occurring and the impact it is having on communities.

The first area we want to look at is Germantown Tennessee. This area suffered severe flooding in June 2019 the way water came rushing in and rushing out raised alot of questions. According to WMC 5 action News water went down so rapidly that it was like a stopper had been pulled out of a tub.

So what exactly caused the flooding in this part of Germantown?

It was a combination of heavy rainfall and drainage systems. More than 10 inches of rain was received which caused flash flooding across the area and it seems that the drainage infrastructure of the area created an even larger disaster.

Let's get one thing straight 10 inches of rain within a short amount of time could overwhelm any system. However the concern here that residents have is they have received this amount of rainfall in the past with no flash flooding issues. They had complained about drainage issues up until the week before the flooding occurred. The fact that the water left the home almost as fast as it entered the home clearly showed something failed with the drainage systems.

The problem with many drainage systems is they were built 50-60 years ago and they simply aren't built to carry that amount of water away that fast.

This is an issue that Augusta Georgia faced in 2019 when it faced drainage problems from flooding. According to WRDW.com basically the older city areas we do have where it takes time for the system to carry the water because it's an older system.So whether it was clogged drains or simply the system being overwhelmed, what is clear is the importance of keeping these drains clear and up to date.

Another stress that is put on drainage systems is when it's time for the water to leave. You have areas like Houston Texas that seem to face this issue on a regular basis. According to The Atlantic when this water hits areas like sidewalks and parking lots you no longer control where the water goes. So this water ends up where the grade takes it which normally is low lying areas creating more of an issue for drainage systems to deal with, so it can be a design problem for many areas.

As Toledo Ohio has shown us with their historic flooding from drainage issues that something has to be done.

What can be done?

Most people think that it takes 10 inches of rain like what occurred in Germantown but many of the flood issues in Toledo have come from less than 2 inches of rain within a short amount of time.

Thankfully areas like Toledo are looking at measures to reduce the impact that drainage systems can have on flooding. Some of these measures include decreasing combined sewer and stormwater overflows

Now let's look at how these clogged drains can impact the transportation infrastructure of a major city.

Round storm drain, off center, surrounded by garden stones

Flooding on interstates has become a bigger problem over the years. You had interstates completely submerged during flooding in Macon Georgia in the 90's. It was the first time where every interstate system going into a city was cutoff by water.

Downtowntown Atlanta, Georgia Skyline.

You have the constant drainage issues that occur in Houston after heavy rains. Then there is I-285 in Atlanta Georgia being shut down multiple times in 2020 as a result of flooding.

So whats the issue here?

Are the drainage systems or clogged drains to blame here?

Maybe and Maybe not.

In the situation with Atlanta each time the interstate has been closed it was a result of clogged drains. The city is working on resolutions to make sure this doesn't happen.

However in the situation with Macon Georgia and Houston Texas there simply was so much water that there simply wasn't anywhere for it to go. Houston has experienced this at least twice in the last 5 years with hurricane Harvey and tropical storm Imelda both ranking as some of the wettest storms in history.

So what can be done to make outcomes like this do not occur again?

Row of concrete conduits on construction site

The constant development of new drainage systems in major metropolitan areas is a first step however as you can imagine these are not cheap or short processes. It takes many years of studying the data to see the impacts financially and environmentally.

So we have looked at drainage systems and clogged drains and the impacts they are having on communities and transportation. However what about your own home?

Are you responsible for the drainage issues on your property or is it a community issue?

It kind of falls on both parties to help mitigate the risk of flooding in these areas. Where you start to see an issue in many situations is when new development or construction starts to take place in your area. It is up to the local community to help hold developers responsible for the possible flooding issues they maybe creating. When it comes to the day to day drainage systems issues on your local property a few steps can go along way.

Like keeping your gutters clear of debris and leaves the same thing can be said for stormwater drains on your property. When these drains are not properly managed they can easily redirect water where it should not be going.

So maybe you have further questions about drainage issues on your property and who is responsible? Maybe you want to make sure your are properly protected with flood insurance? Then make sure to visit our website to get more information on these things. You can also check out our YouTube channel or Facebook page where we do daily flood education videos or even check out our podcast.

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

When you think of coastal flooding what comes to mind?

You are probably thinking about a million dollar beach house right on the water some where in Florida being washed away.

This is the picture that the media has painted for most flood disasters. So its no surprise that when you mention coastal flooding and lake flooding on the great lakes together people look at you like you are crazy.

One explanation for these is everybody associates coastal flooding with oceans and beaches. It brings up the decades long debate on do places like the great lakes really have beaches or a coastline?

perfect sky and water of indian ocean

Lets look at what a coastline and a beach are defined as, first off according to Webster dictionary a coastline is a line that forms the boundary between the land and the ocean or a lake.

According to Websters dictionary a beach is a shore of a body of water covered by sand.

young people group have fun and play beach volleyball at sunny summer day

Now that we understand what a coastline and a beach are it should settle the great debate if the great lakes have a coastline or beach.

So lets take a look at what is changing the landscape of the great lakes and possibly setting up the greatest coastal flooding disaster in 2020.

The great lakes area as well as the rest of the United States had one of the wettest years on record in 2019. Flooding occurred in areas that had not this type of flooding in decades.

End of a public beach along Lake Michigan

You had areas like Nebraska city that were flooded as a result of spring storms and snowmelt.

The state of Iowa had more than $2 billion in flood damage in 2019 and the city of Tulsa was shut down for weeks with flooding on the Arkansas river.

So what about the great lakes area how was it impacted by all this rain fall?

Well there are areas like Marquette, Houghton Lake, and Muskegon that were more than 6 inches above their normal rainfall average. This excessive rainfall continued all the way until the end of the year putting areas like Lake Michigan more than 6 feet higher than its normal average.

The problem is with this amount of rainfall is the water in the ground has nowhere to go and the streams and rivers that it normally runs off to are still full.

An already wet January in areas like eastern Michigan and the city of Chicago have shown us the potential disaster that is setting up for 2020.

Boaters view of Chicago skyline in summer

On Jan 11 2020 Chicago saw waves more than 20 feet high flooding areas like Southern Shores and Rogers Park. Streets crumbled from the pressure of the flood water, cars were washed away and water started to enter homes.

The potential flooding disaster for the great lakes area is setting up for something similar that we saw on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers in 2019.

These areas had a very wet 2019 it was one storm after another combined with record snow pack areas. You had areas like Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota that seemed to have flood warnings for 6 months.

Something else that started to occur in 2019 in some of these great lakes area was coastal erosion. Much of these areas use sand dunes to protect against coastal flooding and with this erosion that protection is gone.

Tidal channel along sandy beach after sunrise on Cape Cod, Massachusetts

As 2020 gets wetter and wetter areas along the great lakes like Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland have a greater risk for this coastal and lake flooding.

So what can be done to help prevent or at least minimize this flooding?

Well keeping things like your gutters cleaned out and making sure run off spouts go away from the property are just a few tips.

Man cleaning the gutter from autumn leaves

If you have flood insurance check your policy for loss avoidance. Loss avoidance will reimburse up to a $1000 for preventative measures like filling sand bags and moving property to higher ground.

Something else thats important to understand is the different risk each of the flood zones brings with it. While special flood hazard areas also known as flood zone A or AE do have a greater risk, its important to understand that even if you are not in a mandatory flood zone does not mean your property will not flood.

The outdated flood mapping process has given many people sense of false security. Just ask the 80% of flood victims in Houston during Hurricane Harvey that were told they did not need flood insurance or the many people along the Arkansas river that lost everything in 2019.

Many of these people were also told that flood insurance was not available. If you live in the great lakes area its important to understand that as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program then flood insurance is available for you.

So what if your community does not participate?

Well there might still be flood insurance options available. Lets discuss what two flood insurance options are available in the great lakes area and the Chicago area.

There is the National Flood Insurance Program and then there is the private flood insurance market.

So who qualifies for what?

As mentioned before as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program then you have access to flood insurance through that program. You may also have access to private flood insurance which could provide more coverage at up to 40% less on price.

So do you qualify for private flood insurance in areas like Chicago, Cleveland, or even Toledo?

Well it depends if you have a loan on the property or if there have been flood claims on the property in the past. If you have an FHA loan then the only option currently available for you is the National Flood Insurance Program, you can get a quote by clicking here. If you have another loan type then you have access to the private flood insurance market, you can get a quote by clicking here.

So what about flood insurance claims on the property?

Well some private flood insurance companies will automatically disqualify you if there has ever been a flood claim on the property. Others only look back 5 years on flood insurance claims. Its important when getting a flood insurance quote that you ask these questions. If a claim occurs it could be declined if it is discovered that the property had claims.

So if you want to learn more about how to prevent flooding in the great lakes area then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel or Facebook page. You can also tune into our podcast to learn more about mitigating your property against flooding.

 

Contact Us

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

 

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So you have been in the business as a realtor for a few years. You have just listed your first home of the new year only to find out its in a special flood hazard area in Huntsville Alabama. Home inventory is already at a 20 year low in the area, so all you need is more challenges. You have never had a listing in this type of area before, so what are you suppose to do?

Well lets discuss the first steps you should take when you find this out. The first thing is verify if there is an active flood policy on the property and the next thing is to verify the flood map. Now if its an investment property or the mortgage is paid off its not uncommon for there not to be a policy.

So let's say you are on the lucky side and find out that the current property owners do have a flood policy on the property. Now you want to find out if it is a National Flood Insurance Program policy also known as a FEMA policy.

Wait I thought the only option for flood insurance in Huntsville Alabama was FEMA?

Hold that thought we will discuss flood insurance options in Huntsville and Florence Alabama a little bit later on.

So you find out it is a FEMA policy that is on the property. The first thing you want to do is reach out to the insurance agent to see if the policy is transferable.

Now it could be that the policy is through what is called a write your own carrier or NFIP Direct either way you should be able to get this answer. Now it's not uncommon for many insurance agents to know if a policy is transferrable or not.

What is a transferrable flood policy?

This is a flood insurance policy that can be transferred from one buyer to the next keeping the rate locked in and sometimes allowing the buyer to wait until renewal to make a payment.

Now if it's an investor who is selling the property and someone is buying it as a primary residence then more than likely the policy can't be transferred. It has to be the same type of policy that is being transferred, whether its for a primary or non primary residence.

So you have gotten your ducks in a row and you know if the policy is transferrable or not.

The second thing you want to do is verify the flood map. Why you might ask the flood policy is there so we know its required?

Well properties being in the wrong flood zone is not uncommon. So you can click here to verify where the property is located on the flood map. It could be that the actual structure is not in the special flood hazard area after all or that the map recently changed.

If the map has changed within the last 12 months it could be that the property qualifies for special newly mapped rates.

It looking at this map if you are in an area outside the coast you want to look for three different zones, zone X, A, and AE.

 

 

If the property is in zone X then flood insurance should not be required but if its in A or AE then it will be in whats considered the special flood hazard area.

Remember earlier when we mentioned we would discuss flood insurance options later? Well lets discuss those options.

The majority of people across the Huntsville Alabama area think there is only one option for flood insurance.

This simply isn't true, you have two options for flood insurance in the Huntsville, Athens, Madison, and Florence Alabama areas.

You can choose to go through the National Flood Insurance Program like many people do or you can choose to go through the private flood insurance market.

There is no wrong answer here but if decide to go through the National Flood Insurance Program you will want to be prepared for what will be needed. If the property is in this A or AE zone and the it was built after the first flood map which is normally around 1982 there is going to be some documentation that is needed.

You are going to have to provide photos of each side of the house and an elevation certificate.

What is an elevation certificate?

This a certificate that is provided by a surveyor or engineer that shows the different elevations of the home compared to the base flood elevation. This will determine how cheap or how expensive your flood insurance will be.

So what does something like this cost in the Huntsville Alabama area?

These certificates usually cost between $500-$700 you can order one by clicking here.

Now that you have an understanding of what documentation will be needed for the National Flood Insurance Program, what documentation will be needed for private flood insurance?

The good news is most private flood insurance companies do not require photos or elevation certificates. This can be a big savings right off the bat, but private flood insurance can also be up to 40% cheaper than the National Flood Insurance Program.

One reason is private flood insurance companies in Huntsville and Florence Alabama use different technology to map risk in these areas. As a result they can get more accurate ratings than the National Flood Insurance Program.

So does every property owner in Huntsville qualify for private flood insurance?

No they do not

As long as you don't have a FHA loan then your bank should allow you to take out a private flood insurance policy. If you have an FHA loan then you will be required to go through the National Flood Insurance Program.

So we have talked about what to do when you find out your listing in Huntsville or Florence Alabama is in a special flood hazard area, to verify the flood map, and what the flood insurance options are in the area.

Maybe you have more questions then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our YouTube channel or Facebook page where we do daily flood education videos.

 

Start My Flood Insurance Quote

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

 

 

Almost everyone has heard that all flood insurance is the same and it all goes through FEMA. While technically this is not true because there is the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance markets.

Today we want to talk about some different ways that you can obtain flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

There basically two ways to obtain flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program

  1. Write Your Own companies
  2. NFIP Direct

There is no wrong way to obtain flood insurance, the only bad decision is not getting it at all. So we want to discuss the benefits of each one of these paths.

Electrical outlet reflected in floodwater in office

Let's discuss what a Write Your Own carrier is? The guidelines they must follow and a list of companies that participate?

First of a Write Your Own carrier also known as (WYO) is participating property and casualty insurance companies to write and service the standard flood policies in their own names.

It's important to remember while these carriers are writing these policies FEMA still retains the responsibility for underwriting losses. Since this is still part of the National Flood Insurance Program there are strict guidelines that must be followed.

Some of those guidelines are as follows

  1. Policy administration
  2. Claims processing
  3. Reports
  4. Operations plan
  5. Time standards
  6. Policy issuance
  7. Discontinue of policies when NFIP is not authorized
  8. Keep flood insurance funds separate from company funds
  9. The Company must investigate, adjust, settle, and defend all claims or losses arising from policies issued under this Arrangement. Payment of flood insurance claims by the Company bind FEMA, subject to appeal.
  10. Compliance with Agency Standards and Guidelines.
  11. Compliance with Appeals Process
  12. Other Flood Insurance. If the Company also offers flood insurance outside of the NFIP in any geographic area in which Program authorizes the purchase of flood insurance, the Company must:
    1. Ensure that all public communications (whether written, recorded, electronic, or other) regarding non-NFIP flood insurance lines would not lead a reasonable person to believe that the NFIP, FEMA, or the Federal Government in any way endorses, sponsors, oversees, regulates, or otherwise has any connection with the non-NFIP flood insurance line. The Company may assure compliance with this requirement by prominently including in such communications the following statement: “This insurance product is not affiliated with the National Flood Insurance Program.”
    2. Ensure that data related to this Arrangement are not used to further or support the Company's non-NFIP flood insurance lines
      Governance on Blue Puzzle on White Background.

While this is not all the guidelines you can see that NFIP has strict guidelines for participating in this program. According to FEMA this program was set up in 1983 with three goals in mind

  1. Increase the NFIP policy base and the geographic distribution of policies
  2. Improve service to NFIP policyholders through the infusion of insurance industry knowledge
  3. Provide the insurance industry with direct operating experience with flood insurance

The WYO program has come along way since 1983 its important that you know what companies participate so you are protected.

There are more than 55 different companies that participate in this program and you can find the list here.

Two women and team work in big storehouse

As you can see there can be some great benefits to this program like dealing directly with your existing insurance company for your flood insurance policy, dealing with an experienced company during the claims process, and also having a good experience when making payments or changes.

So now that we have looked at WYO let's discuss what NFIP direct is and some of its benefits?

NFIP Direct is the system that FEMA has built where agents can directly access the NFIP without going through a WYO carrier. Payments, claims processing, and policy issuance are just a few things the system does.

One of the negatives of using NFIP Direct is if someone who doesn't have flood training or experience can struggle with using it. This is one of the major benefits of using a WYO. This is also one reason why many agents who can only access NFIP Direct sell less flood insurance than those who access a WYO.

You can call it intimidation or just a headache like many agents do.

So is there any benefit for the consumer?

Business man pointing the text Customer Experience

Whether the customer decides to use a WYO or NFIP Direct then the rates and claims processing should be the same. You may just have a better experience with a WYO because of the way they communicate.

So is there a benefit to the agent?

There are usually a few benefits first of all commissions are normally higher through a WYO compared to going through NFIP Direct. There are also normally a lot more opportunities to learn the system and get the support that you need as an agent.

So whether you access WYO or NFIP Direct whats important is that you have a policy in place. According to the FEMA podcast the last 10 years have shown a steady decrease in the amount of active flood insurance policies and a steady increase in the amount of claims filed.

So if you have questions about either one of these platforms then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel or Facebook page. You can also tune into our daily podcast.

 

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Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

 

 

Texas has seen its fair share of flood disasters over the last 5 years. Hurricane Harvey in 2017 devastated the city of Houston flooding many commercial properties that were told they were not in a flood zone. Then there was tropical storm Imelda in 2019 that brought almost just as much rain fall as Harvey. Commercial properties even flooded during Imelda that didn't flood during Harvey.

 

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While these two disasters could be considered two of the top flood disasters in the last 25 years is this enough reason for commercial flood insurance companies to take a one way ticket out of town?

Since Harvey private flood insurance companies have really been limiting their exposure in areas like Houston and Galveston Texas. However now we are starting to see this limitation across the state of Texas. Other flood disasters like the flooding in Oklahoma and Nebraska have put even more pressure on them as they try to manage the commercial flood risk properly.

This is one of the big differences between the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance companies. The National Flood Insurance Program also known as NFIP is backed by FEMA and is not built on profitability like private flood insurance companies are designed to be.

For this reason you will not see NFIP pulling out of areas after a flood or limiting policies. The NFIP was designed to provide flood insurance to property owners as long as the community participates in the NFIP.

So what about those communities in Texas that do not participate?

What flood insurance options are available for them?

These particular communities only have access to private flood insurance so when these options start to become limited it can have a major impact on these non participating communities and businesses.

So what else could be scaring away commercial private flood insurance companies in Texas? Well there are two things we want to discuss

  1. Flood maps
  2. Climate change.

Let's look at flood maps first, flood maps being updated is no short process. A flood insurance study report has to be done which can take several years to complete and then FEMA and local communities have to agree on the new maps. This is one of the major issues that occurred in Houston and Harris county Texas. When hurricane Harvey hit new flood maps had not been agreed upon and many areas that were showing low risk should have been high risk.

As a result 85% of the properties that flooded during hurricane Harvey did not have flood insurance. One reason was the misbelief that they were in a low risk flood zone where it really should have been a special flood hazard area where flood insurance is required.

Another area that was the victim of flood maps was Baton Rogue Louisiana during there famous flood in 2016. Right before this flood many areas had been moved to low risk flood zones and the mandatory requirement for flood insurance had been removed.

As a result many property owners did not have flood insurance as they had just cancelled it.

These are only two scenarios but there are many more we can look at where flood maps are creating false security. You see the water is not going to knock on your door and ask to come in.

As you can imagine this inaccurate mapping process would scare any flood company. Thankfully new technology has helped private flood insurance companies get a more accurate risk on these flood prone areas. This is also one reason why so many of these low risk flood zones have better ratings with NFIP than private flood insurance companies. The private flood insurance companies can see the true risk and rate it correctly.

So what else might be running commercial flood insurance companies out of town?

Well its two words that no body wants to discuss which is climate change.

We aren't necessarily talking about global warming but instead how patterns can change for certain areas. Looking at Harvey and Imelda you can clearly see that these two storms dumped more rain than most hurricanes. According to Live Science Imelda was one of the wettest storms in U.S. history.

However let's look at some other areas of the country to get a true comparison. The Nebraska, Iowa, and Oklahoma flooding saw one storm after another early in 2019 causing wide spread flooding for several months.

North Alabama saw the same thing happen in 2019 when power companies could not handle the amount of water coming through their managed water sources causing flooding in low risk areas like Florence Alabama.

In 2020 we are starting to see the same thing occur in North Alabama again as they are expected to get hit with a rainstorm that will drop more than 3 inches of rain for the third time in 3 weeks.

It's important to understand that currently climate change is not factor in flood insurance rates. Its something that is being reviewed for NFIP Risk Rating 2.0 in 2021, but there are no guarantees it will be implemented.

So then what happens when you have inaccurate flood maps and climate change that you can not necessarily forecast. You have an unpredictable flood risk model that makes it very difficult for companies to manage risk properly.

As a result you have companies moving out of those areas or best case scenario limiting the amount of business they do in these areas.

Generally the first thing they start to do is limit areas within 5 miles of the coast and then coverage amounts. This can make commercial flood insurance very difficult to find as most banks require $500,000 on each special flood hazard area property.

Now as mapping improves, technology improves, and climate change forecasting improves you may start to see more private flood insurance options available in areas like Houston Texas. However for the time being expect to see options become more limited until these things happen. Some important things to look at in these areas are mitigation efforts you done to the property to help minimize the risk.

Maybe you have put flood vents on your property, maybe you have dry proofed the property, or even raised the building. These are all factors that could give you more flood insurance options.

So if you want to know what your flood insurance options are in Texas or how your mitigation efforts might impact your flood insurance options then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our YouTube channel or Facebook page where we do daily flood education videos. You can also tune into our daily flood podcast.

 

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Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

So you have that family heirloom that has been in the family for years. It was passed down through your family over the last 100 years and is priceless to you.

Simple sign hanging outside old brick building with antiques shop

It might not be priceless if you have a flood insurance claim?

Antique coverage on a flood insurance policy can be very shocking, especially after a claim. Many people do not realize that FEMA uses functional value on these items.

So that family heirloom might just be worth $50 instead of the $5000 you think it's worth.

A close-up picture of a cute young surprised, unhappy, puzzled woman, girl holding an empty wallet, isolated  on a white background

First let's define what an antique is and how it might be different from something like fur?

An antique is a collectible object such as a piece of furniture or work of art that has a high value because of its considerable age.

Antique coverage works a little bit differently than something like fur. Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs are only covered up to $2500, while antiques have functional value.

So let's discuss a scenario where coverage is paid out on antiques.

We recently had a customer come to us from Texas after a flood insurance claim. They had a $100,000 in contents coverage but only received $15,000 from FEMA. They could not figure out why the check was so low. The owner was in tears as she sat there looking at belongings knowing she could not replace them for $15,000. They had paid all this money for the last twenty years only to be shocked that they didn't have the coverage they thought they did.

You see about 90% of the things that were destroyed in this home were antiques that had been in the family for years. So while these things were worth alot of money and even more memories to the property owner, they were worth very little to FEMA.

The reason is as we mentioned before FEMA uses functional value.

So what exactly is functional value?

Well let's use your great grandmothers jewelry box for example. It's been in the family for over 100 years and it's worth alot of money. However if its destroyed by flood what are you getting?

Happy beautiful young woman opening jewelery gift box

You are going to get what it would cost to buy a regular jewelry box with the same dimensions.

As you can imagine this can be a major disappointment.

This is one of the biggest surprises most property owners have during the National Flood Insurance Program flood claim process.

So what exactly can you do to get that antique covered?

You could look for a specific policy that would cover it but most have flood as an exclusion.

What we normally recommend is keeping items like this at higher ground so that they are hopefully the last item to be destroyed. Whether you have a private flood insurance policy or a National Flood Insurance program policy we recommend reading the personal property very closely about how claims are paid out.

As we have discussed today antique coverage can be confusing because if a claim occurs you aren't really sure what you are going to get, but you know it won't be what the item is worth to you.

If you have further questions about flood insurance for antiques make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our YouTube channel or Facebook page where we do our daily flood education videos.

 

Start My Flood Insurance Quote

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com