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Flood Insurance - What do I need? - 2023 Update

How do I know what I need?

How can you understand flood hazards beyond FEMA maps? FEMA acknowledges that over 30% of flood losses occur outside of mapped flood hazard zones.

The impacts of climate change, development activity in the watershed and changes to the waterway are all factors to consider in determining your flood hazard.

You may have used Google earth to model the distance and elevation changes between the floodway and the property to assess flood hazards. This is an improvement on FEMA mapping, but still relies upon the FEMA flood boundaries and the age of the images in Google. It offered some facts, but no analysis of the probability in a user-friendly format.

Data Sources

If the FEMA flood maps are not the best evidence of hazard, what are the choices available to the insurance buyer?

A hazard tool is available that offers some guidance. Visit RiskFactor to get a location specific hazard analyses for flood, wildfire, and extreme heat. You can create an account to access a single location report for free. This offers you the best data that is available now. The loss estimation tools can help you make a good risk benefit calculation.

Unfortunately, the best data sources are behind paywalls and the costs to get location specific data is $100 per report. This places the data outside the reach of most policyholders and insurance companies. So your insurer may not have the best data available.

The best source of information may be the local emergency management agency, fire department, public works, or stormwater management agency. They may have historic records regarding flood events that have occurred at your location. Many flood events are not insured events, so insurance data may be incomplete.

The Driehaus Difference

We encourage our clients to use this tool and discuss the results with your Driehaus representative. This is a step forward in making informed decisions about a catastrophe hazard. Risk management is at the heart of the Driehaus Difference. Visit our website to learn about our products, services and people or call us at 513-977-6860.


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