5 Lessons From a Major Flooding Disaster

August 16, 2017

It’s been a year since Baton Rouge, La., experienced catastrophic flooding due to heavy rains. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 83,000 homes damaged by the flooding were eligible for disaster assistance, with each household receiving an average of $13,100 to make repairs and $3,800 to replace essential household items.

Some residents are still recovering, says John Dickson, president of flood insurance provider NFS Edge. He highlighted five takeaways from Baton Rouge’s flood disaster.

  1. Everyone is at risk for flooding. “The vast majority of those affected in Baton Rouge were in low- to moderate-risk (PRP) areas,” Dickson says. Many affected homes were uninsured, and owners had to pay for damages out of pocket, he adds.
  2. Manmade barriers can escalate flooding. Dickson says that a three-foot concrete highway divider along Interstate 12 going through Baton Rouge acted as a levee and increased the depth of floodwater by 3 feet on one side, contributing to the damage.
  3. Major disasters can deplete resources quickly. Because so many homes and buildings were damaged, materials to rebuild became scarce and expensive, Dickson says, so the speed of insurance payments is critical.
  4. Always plan for the worst when building. Case-in-point: An older Baton Rouge elementary school building flooded up to the top of the second window pane, while another newer building was elevated and only submerged under 8 inches of floodwater, he says.
  5. Know your options if your home is uninhabitable. Many flood victims were forced from their homes, Dickson says, and FEMA trailer homes are not always available. Flood insurance can help pay for alternative living arrangements, he says.

Source: NFS Edge