New Study Reveals 41 Million Americans at Risk from Flooding

New Study Reveals 41 Million Americans at Risk from Flooding
Currently, data shows that approximately 13 million Americans are at risk from flooding rivers. However, a recent study completed by the University of Bristol reveals that Americans’ flood risk is far greater than previously thought with approximately 41 million people at risk. Even more alarming, this estimate of 41 million people does not include those at risk of coastal flooding.
What makes this new study different is that it uses a new high-resolution model to map out flood risk for the entire continental U.S. instead of relying on the existing regulatory flood maps produced by FEMA, which only covers about 60 percent of the continental U.S.

Aside from the new study taking into account the entire continental U.S., one reason why this research reveals that more than three times as many Americans are at risk of experiencing a flood is due to the map’s ability to estimate flooding on small streams. Other contributing factors to the flood risk increase include climate change and the so-called “100-year flooding” happening more frequently.

On a positive note, insurance carriers can use a property inspection as an opportunity to check for flood risk and educate property owners on how to prevent flooding.

When conducting a property inspection, here are several tips insurance carriers should pass along to insureds to help them prevent flood damage:

1. Determine how water flows around the home.
Analyzing how water flows around the property will help insureds to redirect water to prevent excessive water pools and flooding. For example, if a gutter has a tendency to leave standing water in an area next to the property during a downpour, the water should be redirected further out so that it does not accumulate next to the property’s foundation. The more insurance carriers can talk to insureds about directing water away from the property, the less likely it will experience flooding in severe weather.

2. Waterproof unfinished basement floors and walls.
If the property is in a flood zone or near a stream of water, insurance carriers could use a property inspection as an opportunity to discuss waterproofing the floors and walls of an unfinished basement. Taking this step will help to minimize damage in the event of a flood and make the property easier to restore.

3. Check the property’s foundation for cracks.
A thorough property inspection will include checking a property’s foundation for cracks and other vulnerabilities. The property owner should seal any cracks identified in the foundation with caulk and cement. Adding a waterproof finish once the crack has been sealed will help to further protect the property from flooding.

4. Keep outdoor equipment above the flood line.
If a property is in a flood zone or sits near a creek or river, it’s in the property owner’s best interest to lift any outdoor equipment (air conditioning units, for example) above the floodline to prevent damage.

With the increase in Americans that are at risk of experiencing flooding, using a property inspection as an opportunity to speak to insureds about ways to protect their property from flood damage can add a lot of value and minimize risk.

Contact us at Insurance Risk Services to learn how we can partner with you to provide you with accurate and thorough in-person property inspections to help you determine which risks are worth taking.

We’re delighted to announce that Insurance Risk Services will rebrand to Davies in the near future.

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