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An Insurance Debacle Is Coming to Florida Homeowners

No insurance and no flood insurance will sink many people.

In recent days I’ve called out the challenge of hazard insurance for hurricanes and especially those impacting Florida. Now there is this excellent summary of the challenges that will be faced by residents of that state: “Ian will ‘financially ruin’ homeowners and insurers.”

After a hurricane, one of the contentious items that comes up is what caused the damages suffered by a property. If it is the wind, the property insurance will cover the loss. If it is storm surge, then you’d better have FEMA-backed flood insurance.

In the case of Florida, much but not all damages will be flooding along the coastal areas because of the significant storm surge that was experienced.

Then there is all the “surface water flooding” that happened inland due to the copious amounts of rain that fell. Many of those people will be the ones without flood insurance and thus no one to make a claim to.

The insurance situation that is spelled out above in the linked article is a bad one. People will be looking for the state of Florida to step in and bail them out. The same can be said for Congress. Constituent relations are about to get “really sticky” in Florida as citizens reach out to their elected officials seeking help — when no program exists to help them, other than the somewhat limited FEMA Individual Assistance that is mentioned in the article. Not a lot of money when everything is gone.

Once again we’ll have a national debate about insurance and who should pay for the risk that comes with your choice of where to live. Flood insurance was the only property insurance I personally did not have because I lived on high ground. But, you can buy flood insurance no matter where you live, you do not need to be in a floodplain.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.