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

Letters Hoping for an end to Flagler Shore

Hoping for an end to Flagler Shore The Fix Flagler Initiative and committee appreciate the Palm Beach Post for its unbiased coverage of the Flagler Shore project and its openness to printing so many letters to the editor from concerned citizens who oppose the project. On Jan. 29, well over 150 citizens attended a West Palm Beach City Council meeting...
Letters Editorial about NRA right on the mark

Editorial about NRA right on the mark I thought your editorial, “Our kids are dying; end NRA’s grip on our laws” (Sunday), was excellent. I was struck by that part which said, “Because, in America, your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is apparently just words on a document. These are supposed to be inalienable...
Opinion: Will automation kill our jobs?

A recent article in The Guardian dons the foreboding title “Robots will destroy our jobs — and we’re not ready for it.” The article claims, “For every job created by robotic automation, several more will be eliminated entirely. … This disruption will have a devastating impact on our workforce.” According to...

It’s been almost 18 years since I lived through a school shooting. My good friend, Barry Grunow, was murdered on the last day of school by a student who brought a gun onto our campus. The recent Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting has opened up some old wounds. Do the people I worked with know how much and how often I think about them?...
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon

More Stories