Many of the usual sources for good hurricane information are predicting a very mild storm season in 2015. In case you were wondering, hurricane season begins June 1st and ends on November 30th.
Florida and the Gulf Coast have not had serious storms for almost seven years. Several Florida insurance carriers are beginning to write home insurance in the state very freely, as if nothing has ever happened. Many new residents have moved into Florida over the last few years completely unfamiliar with tropical storms. Yet, we have serious weather related items occurring across the globe that should make us think we must always be on guard. The Director of the National Hurricane Center has been quoted saying: “It’s human nature, when hurricanes don’t happen for people to forget all about them.”
Hurricanes Sandy and Irene were the last two to hit the east coast and 2013 and 2014 were totally gorgeous summer seasons. But when you live by the coast we really must be ready for what could happen. New England and the Mid-Atlantic Coastal areas do get those pesky Nor’easter storms quite frequently; and can be as serious as any hurricane.
Recent surveys on this subject reveal that 93% of us think this kind of event can’t happen to us. And even though we are deluged with data that global warming is for real and does result in extreme weather events, most of us are still not convinced. Yet even with the lack of a credible threat, we must not be complacent to think “It won’t happen to me.” We cannot afford to be unconcerned about flood risk. While we can reduce the effects of floods through awareness, education, and investment in flood defenses, we can never prevent them. That's why we're urging people to try to reduce the massive financial and emotional costs of flooding with preparation and insurance.
Politicians Still Making Flood Insurance Uncertain
Where do I start? By now our office could write a book on the current flood legislation! Like we have written before, the voluntary insurance markets have stayed away from writing flood insurance since the 1960’s. That has left the Federal Government to oversee a program that has been the only source for flood coverage since that time.
Flood Insurance reform started with the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act in 2012. The law was amended with the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. As a result, beginning April 1, 2015 flood insurance rates, surcharges and Fees will affect the total amount all policyholders pay for flood insurance. There will be rate increases between 5% and 37% (not including surcharges and Federal Policy Fees) and a new surcharge for non-primary residences of $250. A lower policy fee if the home is your primary residence. A new higher deductible of $10,000 is now available for flood coverage providing of course the lender will accept the higher amount, but it could save you money. There will also be a potential for flood insurance discounts when a Map Change Occurs. Please speak to one of our customer service agents for further details.
60 Minutes on CBS and Hurricane Sandy
Several weeks ago, the Sunday night TV show “60 Minutes” played a segment on some flood claim payment irregularities that occurred after Hurricane Sandy. The TV show mentioned that several people were given flood insurance settlements that were not consistent with standard claims paying practices. As a result, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that oversees the National Flood Insurance Program has released a statement to the public that they will be reviewing and possibly re-opening Hurricane Sandy related claims.
FEMA has indicated they will be contacting homeowners directly who experienced flood damage to see if they wish to re-open their claim. This review will be handled by FEMA and will not be handled through Hauswirth & Sons Insurance or any of our flood insurance carriers.