Floods, Water Losses and Money
There were a number of articles over the course of the last few weeks that focused my attention back to the water peril. Spring storms in the middle section of the country with the severe floods that always seem to follow; global warming issues being reported almost daily with the threat of rising sea levels; and then this recent article, Flood recovery meeting set in White Sulphur Springs from The Herald-Dispatch in West Virginia, that announced meetings with various officials to try and provide updates to the folks in southern West Virginia who were affected by last year’s floods in the mountain state.
In a prior blog, I wrote some tips I hoped were of some value to folks in West Virginia that had suffered a flood loss. Some of my suggestions were published by The West Virginia Record, Insurance adjuster offers tips for flood victims. Hopefully they were helpful in some way to the residents of the communities that suffered from this flooding event.
This flooding event devastated communities already going through hard times due to the effects of closed coal mines and the businesses that supported what was once a booming industry. Fortunately, I recently read about additional federal funding finding its way to the State to help the hardest hit areas with among other things infrastructure repairs and replacements.
Back in Florida the water peril continues to be front and center in the property insurance world. The Assignment of Benefits (AOB) reform fight was lost again in the 2017 Florida Legislature when measures proposed to reform the malaise were once again, swept under the rug. It seems trial lawyers championed their agenda so successfully that other groups as pointed out in the article written by Beth Luberecki titled House of Cards and published by the Business Observer, lost out. When it comes to the AOB issue, the lawyers are stacked up on one side and just about everyone else on the other side. Not sure when this issue will be settled, but if you have a question about the real substantive meat of this AOB controversy, go back to the top and read the heading of this blog.
What really brought all this together was an article in the New York Times Magazine titled Under Water – When rising seas transform risk into certainty written by Brooke Jarvis. This is a sobering reminder of the peril we face from floods, rising seas and the effect climate change is having on communities in areas where construction should not have been allowed.
And for you folks who think the government will save you if your home or community is flooded, you should read this article, particularly the section about the unsustainable state of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This is a sobering read, one that folks in harm’s way need to grasp and plan accordingly.
Final tip; if you have a water loss at your property from a broken pipe or overflow of an appliance inside your property, “do not” report it to your insurance company as a flood. A flood is not covered unless you have flood insurance. A flood, for the purpose of triggering flood insurance coverage has to originate from outside of the property and meet the definition of a flood as outlined in a NFIP policy. But a “water loss” inside of your property, which may seem like a flood at the time, is most likely covered as long as the cause is from an event inside the property and is not excluded in the exclusions sections of a property policy. In insurance speak, a comma in a sentence or a word articulated in the wrong manner can make all the difference in the world when your notice of loss is typed up and assigned to a claim handler for an initial review.
Not to be an alarmist but remember, the 2017 hurricane session starts June 1st. Some weather forecast folks are already reporting the possibility of increased storms this year due to unexpected changes in weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean. This would be a good time to assess your exposure to various risk factors such as flood and wind, which of course is closely related to your geographic location.
Finally, property insurance coverage may help, provided you are fully insured (talk to your agent, ask questions) but it will not be the panacea that will save you.