Percentage of Flood-insured Kansans Low Despite Past Flooding

March 24, 2008

Only 1.3 percent of Kansas homes carried flood insurance in 2007, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

FEMA is urging Kansans to buy flood insurance during what is the 15th anniversary of the flooding that swept the state in 1993. The agency points out that even homes in low- or moderate-risk areas can suffer flood damage.

Property owners in areas of low or moderate risk accounted for more than one-third of the insurance claims filed in wake of the 1993 flood. Nearly 23 percent of the claims in 2007 were filed by property owners from the same kind of areas.

Floods made state headlines in 2007, with Reno County among the areas receiving extensive damage after torrential rainfall and strong winds whipped through the state.

FEMA officials say Kansas residents without flooding insurance put themselves at risk of not having the financial protection they need should flooding happen again.

Ken Harding, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka, said Kansas has no rivers at this time that are at or above flood stage. But he said heavy rains last weekend sent some rivers over flood stage before they subsided.

Butch Kinerney, a spokesman for the National Flood Insurance Program, which is part of FEMA, said homeowners should not just assume that governmental disaster aid will be sufficient in case of a flood.

“When you come to FEMA for disaster assistance, it comes in one of two forms,” he said.

Those who are among the poorest and lack resources will get a check, while others can receive low-interest loans, Kinerney said.

Kinerney said it would take more than some flooding of a few properties to result in FEMA assistance or a presidential disaster declaration, which brings federal money to an area.


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