FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program Urges Businesses to be Prepared as Season Begins June 1

May 31, 2005

As Wednesday marks the beginning of Atlantic hurricane season, Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary and head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Michael Brown said
more business owners need to know how to prepare their businesses for flooding.

Experts are predicting another active hurricane season for 2005. If those forecasts are correct, the 2005 season could be comparable to last year’s storm-filled season – the costliest hurricane season on record.

Because there is a 30-day waiting period before new flood insurance policies become active, Brown urged business owners to take steps now to protect their property against tropical storm flooding. Adequate insurance is one of the best ways, he said.

“If a business has to close its doors for only a few days, the results can be devastating,” Brown said. “Many businesses remain uninsured against flood damage.”

During the 2004 hurricane season the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) paid non-residential flood insurance holders nearly $200 million to recover from damage caused by the storms. The following states topped the list for non-residential insurance claim reimbursements: Florida $57,281,657, Pennsylvania $57,047,177, Alabama $20,819,168, West Virginia $15,740,753 and North Carolina $15,202,052.

“Although Charley, Frances, Gaston, Ivan and Jeanne battered Florida and the Eastern Seaboard, business owners don’t have to be located on the coast to experience devastating flooding resulting from Hurricane and tropical storms,” said David Maurstad, acting Federal Flood Insurance administrator and acting director of FEMA’s Mitigation. “During last year’s hurricane season, Pennsylvania, with no ocean coastline, ranked second in non-residential flood insurance claim payments.”

Under the National Flood Insurance Program, federally backed flood
insurance is available to homeowners, renters and business owners in
communities that adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood losses by regulating new construction in high flood-risk areas.

Currently, more than 4.4 million flood insurance policies are in approximately 20,000 participating communities nationwide, representing nearly $637 billion worth of coverage. The National Flood Insurance Program is self-supporting; claims and operating expenses are paid from policyholder premiums, not taxpayer dollars.

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