Tag Archives: Irene

Irene And Flooding

As damage estimates start to be reported for Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene, there is a growing consensus that much of the damage appears to have been caused by flooding rather than wind.

For example, in Vermont where the National Guard has begun airdropping supplies into flooded areas, Governor Peter Shumlin said Irene had resulted in the worst flooding the state has seen in a century.

Given the timing of Hurricane Irene, close to six years since Hurricane Katrina, it’s inevitable that this will lead some to draw comparisons.

PropertyCasualty360.com has an interesting piece on why it’s possible the insurance industry will face similar issues that arose with Hurricane Katrina and its wind vs. water discussion.

While it’s too early to tell just yet what proportion of Irene damage is the result of flooding, it’s important to reiterate that flood damage is excluded under standard homeowners, renters and commercial insurance policies.

Flood insurance is available through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and through some private insurers.

An online article at Knowledge@Wharton has some interesting observations on this issue.

It cites experts at the Wharton Risk Center saying that based on their analyses of NFIP data, it is very likely that many homeowners with damage from Hurricane Irene will not have purchased flood insurance even if they are required to have it.

According to Howard Kunreuther, co-director of Wharton’s Risk Management and Decision Processes Center and cited in the article, it is also unlikely homeowners will have invested in measures to reduce losses from hurricanes.

As Kunreuther states:

Irene provides an opportunity to get the message across that ‘it can happen to me’ so that [people] will decide to undertake protective measures prior to the next disaster rather than after it occurs.†

Check out I.I.I. facts and stats on flooding.

Are Fallen Trees Covered By Insurance?

As clean up efforts get underway on the U.S. East Coast and in the Northeast following Hurricane Irene,  one question on many peoples’ minds is whether their insurance covers fallen trees.

The good news is that if a tree hits a home or other insured structure due to wind, standard homeowners policies provide coverage for the damage the tree does to the structure and the contents in it.

It does not matter whether or not you own the tree. If it lands on your home, you should file a claim with your insurance company, the I.I.I. says.

If a tree hits an insured structure, such as your house or garage, there is also coverage for the cost of removing the tree, generally up to about $500 to $1,000, depending on the insurer and the type of policy purchased.

The I.I.I.’s Jeanne Salvatore has the answers to your fallen tree questions in this video: