Ohio DOI Offers Severe Weather Tips

With the possibility that severe weather associated with Hurricane Katrina will cause heavy rains and potential flooding, Ohio Department of Insurance Director Ann Womer Benjamin is urging Ohioans to plan for emergency situations and review their insurance policies.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), provides coverage to communities which have enforced flood plain management ordinances that are designed to reduce future flood losses. In Ohio, more than 19,000 communities participate in the program. After a community qualifies for the NFIP, a flood insurance policy may be purchased from a licensed property and casualty agent. Generally, a 30-day waiting period precedes a new policy’s effective date.

The Ohio Emergency Management Association encourages Ohioans to devise an escape and shelter plan, organize a disaster kit that includes a battery operated radio, flashlight(s), nonperishable foods, bottled water, first aid kit, prescriptions, and important family documents, financial documents and phone numbers.

Anyone with questions about severe weather preparedness and insurance claims should contact the Department’s Consumer Services Division at 1-800-686-1526.

The Ohio Department of Insurance regulates and licenses approximately 1,700 insurance companies, nearly 195,000 agents, and more than 15,000 insurance agencies, and monitors the financial solvency of the insurance industry in Ohio.