Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Minimal Number of Oklahomans Insured for Flooding

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Minimal Number of Oklahomans Insured for Flooding

Article excerpt

Oklahomans in general are unprepared for flooding with nearly 90 percent of those living in a floodplain not holding any type of flood insurance policy.

The Oklahoma Insurance Department estimates that 87 percent of structures located within a designated floodplain have no flood insurance despite a flood considered three times more likely to occur than a fire. Figures from OID indicate a 26-percent chance of a flood occurring during the life of a 30-year mortgage.

Dan Ramsey, president and CEO of Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma (IIAO), said it was surprising how few people don't have some type of flood insurance, especially given the low premiums for such a policy. Ramsey estimated that a high-risk policy for a $100,000 property with $40,000 in contents would be $233 a year.

"I don't know what you've got to do to get people's attention," Ramsey said.

Lance Thomas of the Oklahoma Insurance Department said the biggest reason for a lack of flood insurance tends to be a lack of knowledge as to what coverage homeowners do have. Thomas said people either think they are already covered, or let the coverage end over time.

"Most of the time, people assume that flooding is covered by their homeowners policy," Thomas said. "So, they mistakenly think they are covered. In other instances, people will get flood insurance, then let it lapse after a few years of no flooding, thus exposing themselves again to the risk."

Those living in the floodplains aren't the only ones not purchasing flood insurance. Most Oklahomans in low- and medium-risk areas typically don't have a flood insurance policy despite FEMA data that shows that between 20 and 25 percent of flood claims occur in these areas.

Ramsey said approximately 75-80 percent of independent insurance agents sold flood insurance in Oklahoma, which was allowed only after training. Ramsey said this training was available online or through seminars. …

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