POINT OF VIEW Time is now for PBC residents to secure flood insurance

Last week, new flood maps went into effect in Palm Beach County to reflect updates to flood risk due to changes in weather patterns, land development and erosion. More than 100,000 residents and businesses will be affected by the new maps, and it is important for everyone to understand what these changes mean and how people may benefit from cost savings for flood insurance under the new maps.

We need look no further than the recent devastation in Houston, Miami, Jacksonville and Puerto Rico caused by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria — and the near miss for a similarly catastrophic flooding event in Palm Beach County from Irma — to understand how devastating a major flooding event can be, and that flooding can happen in any flood zone, regardless of the identified risk.

Changes in risk designation — especially from high-risk to moderate-to-lower risk — provide an opportunity to secure lower-cost insurance (or Preferred Risk Policy), not to cancel your coverage entirely. This is especially important given the fact that one in four flood insurance claims come from outside of high-risk areas. Lapses in coverage or lack of coverage leave your property vulnerable — and we have seen how unpredictable and costly flooding can be, even with the best predictive mapping tools at our disposal.

Flood maps represent only what we know at a given time and cannot predict the path of a storm. While it’s too soon to have figures from Hurricane Irma, early estimates from FEMA showed that 40 percent of the buildings that suffered flood damage from Hurricane Harvey were identified to be in low-risk areas. While the flood maps that FEMA and county officials provide are a helpful tool to explain your risk, they can’t control the weather — and neither can you. This is why it’s important to protect your home or business with flood insurance. Generally, National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies become effective 30 days after purchase.

Residents can identify their risk with this helpful flood mapping tool from the Palm Beach County website.

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the U.S., and the damage can be devastating to affected families and businesses. Just one inch of water inside a small home can cost more than $25,000 in repairs. For more information go to https://www.fema.gov/palm-beach.

Palm Beach County was spared a major flood event from Irma, but must be prepared for the next storm.


Editor’s note: Roy Wright is the deputy associate administrator for insurance and mitigation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Opinion

Opinion: What should we fight for?

“We will never accept Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea,” declaimed Rex Tillerson last week in Vienna. “Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine.” Tillerson’s principled rejection of the seizure of land by military force &mdash...
COMMENTARY: Alabama, sweet home of progress

Alabama. Who knew it would become one of the most beautiful words in American politics? It turns out there could have been no better place to test the limits of indecency, the limits of Trumpism, the limits of Republican partisanship and, yes, the limits of racial subjugation. If the angry ideology of the far right cannot make it in one of our most...
Opinion: For the holidays, pull a tooth or save a life

Happy holidays! In the spirit of the season, here’s a suggestion: Instead of inflicting a garish tie on your brother or a carcinogenic face cream on your aunt, how about saving a life? It’s time for my annual “gifts with meaning” guide, with suggestions for presents that won’t just clog a chest of drawers. Consider a $20...
Opinion: Let’s liberate blacks from harmful left-wing politics

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows yet another perspective on the deep racial division in our country. According to the poll, 86 percent of blacks compared to 50 percent of whites say that President Trump does not “respect people of color as much as he respects white people.” However the partisan divide is even greater than the racial...
Letters Educating children is every taxpayer’s concern
Letters Educating children is every taxpayer’s concern

Educating children is everyone’s concern This is a response to the letter-writer who feels that we seniors shouldn’t have to pay school taxes because we don’t have children in school: I gladly paid school taxes on Long Island, New York, after my children were grown and before retiring to Boynton Beach. Why? Because my children&rsquo...
More Stories