Helping customers save money and reduce risk is vital – especially as the climate continually changes.
Over 40% of Americans are living in coastal areas. Meanwhile, sea levels have been rising, and heavy downpours have been more common as of late. Research has found that tidal flooding has increased over 400% in the last ten years. In Miami alone, there has been a 33% growth in flooding as a result of heavy rains.
Unprepared and Underinsured
Over 80% of Americans who live in areas where their homes are considered FEMA-designated flood plains don't even have flood insurance. That leaves a lot of people at great risk. Even Americans outside these designated areas often suffer significant loss from a damaging flood.
Forecasting the Future
As bad as they are now, king tides are the forecast of the future. Many predict that the highest of tides today will turn into the average water levels soon. These high tides reach areas that have never seen flooding before. Just look at Superstorm Sandy. No hurricane-force winds were present, yet the storm rode in on high tides, causing billions in damages and the loss of many lives. Similar occurrences are predicted to happen more often in the future.
"King Tide" Issues
When the sun, moon, and Earth are at their closest point to each other, seawater tends to flood coastal cities, even without excessive rainfall or storms. This occurrence is known as "king tide season." Cities like Miami Beach, Norfolk, Annapolis, Atlantic City, and many others often find flooding common during this season.
FEMA flood maps don't account for the sea level rising. Thus, they cannot guarantee reliable data to homeowners about storm surges and their effects on the individual's property. Climate change has caused many to question whether looking into the past will be an effective way to predict storm surges and create flood maps.
Climate Change Considerations
After Hurricane Katina, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began requiring climate change loss prevention considerations in every one of its projects. The Corps rebuilt the New Orleans levees with these factors taking precedence. If the U.S. Army requires such considerations, it may be a good idea for insurance agents and brokers to do the same.
Here are a few adaptations can be taken to help coastal homeowners avoid costly damages:
- Elevating HVAC equipment
- Elevating electrical systems
- Raising climate systems
- Modifying sewer valves
- Thinking about removable flood doors
- Learning how floodwater flows around property
- Lifting the house
- Installing flood vents to protect foundation
Discussing climate change loss prevention with an insurance broker should be mandatory. Every homeowner should discuss risks of flood damage, such as destroyed walls and carpeting, failing infrastructure, mold, and health hazards with a broker.
"The federal government currently provides flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and private carriers now want to enter this market."
If you have questions about flood insurance contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc., (718) 267-6600 to voice your concerns.