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A short Article of interest in a recent edition of ASFPM's Newsletter:
We hear a lot about residual risk and the importance of encouraging residents and business owners who live and/or work behind levees to carry flood insurance. We emphasize over and over that the risk of flooding is reduced, not removed. And if the levee should fail or be overtopped, the results could be catastrophic…much worse than if the levee had not been there (we’ve seen results of that in several parts of the US this summer). We can also remind them that about 25% of all NFIP flood claims (per the latest NFIP data) come from these moderate-to-low risk areas. We may tell them know that just a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage…and then ask if they could recover, or would it be more financially prudent to purchase a Preferred Risk Policy where a homeowner could get $20,000 in building and $8,000 in contents coverage for just $129 a year. But not all flooding associated with levees is necessarily due to overtopping or levee failure. Here’s one such example that recently happened that made the news and it caught our eye. East Dubuque, IL is a town that sits at the base of a hill by the Mississippi River and is “protected” by a levee. In July, the area behind the levee flooded (sounds like a normal mid-west Mississippi River flooding event, right?!). What is interesting is the area behind the levee was JUST removed the month before from the high-risk area with a LOMR as the levee was accredited. Basically, the flooding was not from overtopping or levee failure; it was a result of very heavy rain causing a huge runoff washing down to the levee. The levee then actually became a barrier, preventing the floodwaters from reaching the river and pumps couldn’t keep up with it. It ended up backing up into a large residential area, known as “the flats.” Businesses were affected too. YouTube has some great video clips on the muddy water rushing down the hill and turning streets into a raging current looking “…like the Mississippi River outside my door.” So, the bottom line to this story: Don’t forget to remind your homeowners, renters, and business owners that flooding doesn’t just have to come from the riverside of the levee. The risk to flooding behind levees unrelated to levee issues is real…and it does happen. Encourage them to purchase flood insurance – can they really afford not to?
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