Living with Levees: It’s a Shared Responsibility

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Community Officials: Levee Outreach Resources for Accredited Levees

Know Your Risk, Know Your Role, Take Action Today!

Construction consultation Public distribution of flood zone construction information Flood zone reassignment counseling

Preplan for a smooth process

When levees are constructed or improved to meet or exceed the minimum Federal standards for reducing risk, the news is good: the completion of a complex project resulting in a lower flood risk and hence a safer community. The actual levee improvements, however, are just part of the process. Property owners must understand how the changes in flood risk affect them. Professional groups need to know the timeline for changes and how to help. Successful outreach can take several months and involve residents and business owners, a range of professional groups, and your community leaders and other departmental staff. The following description provides tips on reaching out to these audiences as well as sample outreach material to help engage and inform.

Residents and Business Owners: Understanding "Choice" versus "Requirement"

For most property owners, their homes or businesses are their greatest investments. When levees are accredited, the area behind the levee is mapped as moderate-risk and the Federal requirement for lenders to require flood insurance is removed. Consequently, flood insurance becomes a choice rather than a requirement and many will wonder if they still need this coverage. All areas near levees are still at risk for flooding as the risk is reduced; it is not removed. More than 20 percent of all flood claims come from moderate-low risk area. Flood insurance should be recommended, as it is one of the best ways to be financially prepared for flood damage.

Insurance, Realty and Lending Professionals: Your Trusted Source to Help Communicate

When property owners have questions about flood insurance, they can - and should - contact their insurance agent. Insurance agents keep property owners prepared by helping them with changes to flood insurance requirements, assessing coverage options and encouraging conversion to a low-cost Preferred Risk Policy. They can help communicate the risk of flooding is real and it has only been reduced, not eliminated.

Real estate professionals are a trusted source of information when property owners make, what is usually, their largest financial investment. Real estate professionals must have all of the details about a property when working with their customers. Lenders also need to be made aware of the changes taking place and how those changes can affect new home and business loans.

All groups will need to be kept up-to-date about how the changes to levees affect the flood insurance requirements for local properties, particularly when many property owners will be released from the Federal flood insurance requirements. In addition, you may wish to contact trainers to arrange for a training event in your area. You can learn more about setting up a training session by visiting the NFIP training program. If training has already been arranged, you can notify agents of the date and time.

Community Officials: Communicating the Risk is Reduced…Not Removed

When changes in flood risk occur, citizens have questions - and so will your community leadership and other department staff. To assure a smooth transition, be sure elected officials, other department staff, community groups and other stakeholders are kept informed as the process moves forward. It is particularly important that they understand there is still flood risk when levees are improved; and if the levees are overtopped or fail, the flooding could be catastrophic. They should also know that low-cost preferred risk flood insurance will be available to residents and business owners in areas mapped as moderate-risk behind the levees.

Material for Local Outreach

 The following materials will help you inform other community leaders and department staff, business groups, and property owners about the reduced but still real flood risk, changes in building and flood insurance requirements and answer common questions. This will allow them to better understand and talk about the changes, their effects and the options available.  You will also find resources that help explain the flood insurance implications of levee and map changes.

For More Information

For more information or additional assistance:

Last Updated: 
06/14/2012 - 22:43
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