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More Californians Preparing For Severe El Nino Flood Risk: Residents Purchase 28,000 New Flood Insurance Policies in California

More Californians Preparing For Severe El Nino Flood Risk:  Residents Purchase 28,000 New Flood Insurance Policies in California

28,084 New National Flood Insurance Program Policies Purchased in California since August

Oakland Calif., — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today released new data on

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Policies, showing an increase of more than 20,000 new NFIP Policies written in California during the month of November 2015.

There is a 30 – 90 day waiting period for new policies to be reported to FEMA and the latest available data, released today, shows an increase of 28,084 new flood insurance policies purchased in California from August 31 – November 30, 2015.

“Flooding is the most costly and devastating disaster we face as a nation,” said FEMA Region 9 Administrator Robert Fenton.  “The major increase in flood policies show Californians are taking the threat seriously and taking powerful steps to protect their families and property.  Those who may need and not have a flood policy should act today, as policies generally take 30 days to go into effect.”

The 12% increase is the first of its kind in recent history.  The previous reporting period showed that policies increased 3% from August 31 to October 31.  During that timeframe, 7,181 new federal flood insurance policies were written in California.

“We are encouraged by the number of Californians that are becoming financially prepared for the flooding that is expected from El Nino,” said Janet Ruiz, California Representative for the Insurance Information Institute.   “It is crucial to protect our families and homes by preparing for catastrophes ahead of time.”

FEMA administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and works closely with more than 80 private insurance companies to offer flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners.  In order to qualify for flood insurance, the home or business must be in a community that has joined the NFIP and agreed to enforce sound floodplain management standards.

Flooding can happen anywhere, but certain areas are especially prone to serious flooding.   Many areas in California are at increased flood risk from El Niño, as a direct result of wildfires and drought.

  • Residents should be aware of a couple things:
    • You can’t get flood insurance at the last minute. In most cases, it takes 30 days for a new flood insurance policy to go into effect. So get your policy now.
    • Only Flood Insurance Covers Flood Damage. Most standard homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage.
    • Get all the coverage you need.  Your agent can walk you through the policy.
  • Know your flood risk.  Visit FloodSmart.gov (or call 1-800-427-2419) to learn more about individual flood risk, explore coverage options and to find an agent in your area.
  • Flood insurance covers flood, but there are other affects from flooding that may apply to you.   Damage from mudflows is covered by flood insurance; damage from landslides and other earth movements is not.   Speak to your agent.

NFIP is a federal program and offers flood insurance which can be purchased through private property and casualty insurance agents.  Rates are set nationally and do not differ from company to company or agent to agent.  These rates depend on many factors, which include the date and type of construction of your home, along with your building’s level of risk.

FEMA’s Region 9 office in Oakland, CA has established an El Niño Task Force and is working with the California Office of Emergency Services with the mission of preparing the Region and its partners for the impact of El Niño.  The task force is evaluating the core capabilities needed to protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from any flooding that occurs across the region this winter.  Last month, the FEMA Region 9 Office released its Draft Severe El Nino Disaster Response plan and convened a regional interagency steering committee meeting in Northern California to exercise the plan.

FEMA recognizes that a government-centric approach to emergency management is not adequate to meet the challenges posed by a catastrophic incident.  Utilizing a “whole community” approach to emergency management reinforces that FEMA is only one part of our nation’s emergency management team.

Visit Ready.gov for more preparedness tips and information and follow FEMARegion9 on Twitter.