Financial Institutions Encourage Consumers to Consider Purchasing Flood Insurance

For more information, contact Eric Skrum

608-441-1216 or [email protected]

MADISON – As a result of the recent floods in southern Wisconsin, many people are asking if they are able to get flood insurance. In fact, flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. From 1965 to 2003, over 98 percent of the entire country at one time or another has been declared a presidential flood disaster.

While we have recently seen the devastation a flood can cause, costly damage can occur with even just a small amount of water. The Flood Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a very helpful, interactive Web site (www.floodsmart.gov) where consumers can view, by adjusting the water level height, how much a flood of varying depths could cost them.

A flood occurs when either two or more acres of normally dry land, or two or more properties suffer partial or complete inundation of water from one of the following:

Overflow of inland or tidal waters.
Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.
Mudflow.
Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above.

“Financial institutions are required to conduct a flood determination every time a loan is made, extended, increased or renewed,” said Kurt Bauer, president/CEO of the Wisconsin Bankers Association. “Flood insurance is only required when the property is in a flood hazard zone and the community where the property is located is a participating community in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).” In Wisconsin, approximately 90 percent of the communities prone to flooding participate in the NFIP.

“Even when flood insurance is not required according to the law, many bankers still make their customers aware of the availability of privately-purchased flood insurance,” said Bauer. “Bankers encourage customers to consider buying flood insurance even when it is not required by law because it is inexpensive.”

If you live in a community that participates in NFIP, you are eligible to purchase low cost flood insurance to protect your property for as little as $119 per year. If you live in a community that does not participate in NFIP, flood insurance may still be available from private insurance companies.

To learn if your community participates in the NFIP, visit www.floodsmart.gov or contact your local municipality.