Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Flood Insurance at a Premium in Valley Most at Meeting Went Uncovered

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Flood Insurance at a Premium in Valley Most at Meeting Went Uncovered

Article excerpt

Most of the business owners at a seminar on flood recovery Tuesday lack flood insurance for their waterlogged companies.

Only about 25 people raised their hands when a speaker asked how many had flood insurance. Several hundred people attended the meeting at the Doubletree Hotel. Two Chesterfield business groups, the hotel and a bank called the meeting to answer questions from business owners about insurance claims and tax rules on flood losses.

Many of the spectators apparently waited too long to get the insurance. About a third raised their hands when someone asked how many had applied for coverage fewer than five days before the Missouri River broke through the Monarch Levee and swamped Chesterfield Valley.

Federal flood insurance doesn't take effect until five days after a business or homeowner buys it. As a result, the businesses who applied after July 26 couldn't get the insurance in time to be covered on July 31, when the levee broke.

Terry Battison, who owns a printing company and a printing supply business, said she had collected names of 75 companies who had been caught by the five-day rule. Battison said she hopes to help the companies get waivers from the rule from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

U.S. Rep. James M. Talent, R-Chesterfield, has asked FEMA to waive the five-day waiting period for flood victims. He said government officials misled business owners about the flood danger until too late to get the insurance.

Talent said U.S. Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, D-St. Louis, and Sens. John C. Danforth and Christopher S. Bond, both R-Mo., had signed a letter to FEMA requesting the waiver.

Tom Erickson, an accountant with KPMG Peat Marwick and one of the speakers at the seminar, said he was shocked at how few had insurance. "It's a tough situation to be in," he said.

Leslie Knox of Adjusters International said business owners may be able to collect under regular insurance policies if flood damage isn't specifically excluded. …

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