State officials are urging Iowans in flood-prone areas to buy flood insurance. Angel Robinson, the Consumer Advocate in the State of Iowa’s Insurance Division, says only 15,000 Iowans currently have flood insurance. “I would also remind Iowans that their homeowners policies and the coverage that they’ve bought for their properties for commercial businesses will not actually cover them in case of a flood,” Robinson says.
Flood insurance is only available through the National Flood Insurance program. “Consumers without flood insurance, in case of a disaster, will have to hope for the possibility that there may be some form of financial support other ways. Usually that’s in the form of loans, which have to be paid back, and they’re in set amounts,” Robinson says. “So, again, flood insurance is something that consumers might want to consider.”
Governor Culver has declared March “flood awareness month” in Iowa. Ron Dardis, executive director of the Rebuild Iowa Office, says spring is a “season for caution and concern” because of flooding. “It is our hope that once people hear the message they will take the initiative to look into ways that they can best protect themselves whether that be through the purchase of flood insurance or establishing a family evacuation plan,” Dardis says. “One of the biggest things we learned from the 2008 disasters is that many Iowan wished they had taken precautions, but had not given much thought to the fact that disaster could happen to them.”
John Benson of the Iowa Emergency Management Division says it typically floods somewhere in Iowa in March and April, the question is the severity of flooding that will happen this year. “One of the best things that an individual can do is learn about the flood risks in their community,” Benson says. Wayne Gieselman of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the agency has started a “multi-year” project to redraw flood plain maps to show Iowans where flooding is likely.
“It will flood in Iowa, somewhere, this year. It floods somewhere in Iowa every year and I’ll just about guarantee you that wherever that happens, it’s happened before,” Gieselman says. “So it is incumbent on the state to start taking a look at some of those things and start developing programs and processes that can help us minimize those damages.”
Legislators balked at the idea of drawing up new rules that would limit development in flood-prone areas. Governor Culver visited Mason City Thursday afternoon to tout a $772,000 state grant to help replace facilities that were destroyed during the floods of 2008. He’ll be in Charles City this morning to tout a $100,000 state grant to fix the city’s storm sewers.