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Cordes Owen

Big Changes ahead for St. Pete insure-tech Neptune Flood

By | News

Neptune Flood will become one of the first private insurers to offer flood insurance to businesses early next year.

The St. Petersburg-based insure-tech company, which taps advanced computing power to evaluate and price flood insurance policies, will launch a commercial flood insurance product in January, Trevor Burgess, president and CEO, said in an interview with the St. Pete Catalyst.

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Flood Insurance

Flooding Preparation Before A Storm

By | Flood Info

You can’t predict a flood, but you can prepare for it. Floods are the worst and costliest natural disaster — more destructive than hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes. Climate change is making floods worse by increasing the risk of heavy rainfall.

Ninety percent of all US national disasters are floods. They plague all 50 states, inland and coastal areas, low elevations and high. One in five flood insurance claims come from low-risk zones.

Yet, according to the Insurance Information Institute, only 12 percent of US homeowners have flood insurance. Wherever you live, it’s wise to be prepared for a flood. Here’s what you can do before flooding happens to your home.

Get Insurance

No homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy covers floods, so you’ll have to buy separate flood insurance. This type of insurance protects your home and possessions during a disaster. It’s available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). You can buy NFIP insurance if you live in one of the program’s participating communities.

The NFIP offers two types of policies. Keep in mind that the policy won’t go into effect until 30 days after purchase. This could spell trouble if a flood happens within that month. If you buy flood insurance from Neptune Flood, you won’t have to worry about when your insurance will kick in — we have a reduced waiting period of only 10 days.

You can get one or both types of insurance:

• Building property coverage. The maximum structural coverage limit is $250,000. It pays out on a replacement cost basis (the cost of repairs in today’s dollars) for a primary residence and actual cash value (the value factoring in depreciation) for a vacation home. Building property coverage can help protect:

— Detached garage used for limited parking or storage. You can use up to 10 percent of your total building flooding insurance coverage for your garage, but that amount will be deducted from your total available building coverage.

— Essential home systems (central air and heating, furnaces, water heaters, sump pumps and solar energy equipment)

— Appliances (refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers, window air conditioners, freezers and the food in them)

— Carpeting and window treatments (permanent carpeting over an unfinished floor, window blinds and curtains)

— Permanently installed paneling, bookcases, wallboards and cabinets. Your policy will only cover the damaged cabinets, so you may have trouble getting new cabinets that match the undamaged ones.

Wouldn’t you like property coverage that’s higher than $250,000? Neptune Flood provides the protection you need for up to $2 million.

• Personal contents coverage. The maximum coverage limit is $100,000. This policy pays out on an actual cash value basis, which takes into account an item’s current, depreciated value. Personal contents coverage helps protect:

— Clothing

— Furniture

— Electronics

— Some portable appliances

— Freezers and the food in them

— Valuables such as art (up to $2,500)

Neptune Flood trumps the NFIP with personal contents coverage up to $500,000.

It also pays to know what’s not covered by flooding insurance:

— Additional expenses, such as temporary housing.

— Property outside of the insured building, such as decks, fences, swimming pools and hot tubs.

— Currency, precious metals and valuable documents such as birth certificates.

— Damage caused by earth movement, even if that movement is caused by flood.

— Vehicles and their parts.

— Moisture, mildew or mold damage that happened due to a property owner’s negligence, not because of the flood.

Things You Can Do RIGHT NOW to Shield Your Home from Potential Flood Damage

First and foremost, make sure to get flood insurance from Neptune Flood. It’ll only take three minutes — or less. You should also consider doing the following to protect your home:

• Leave the basement and lower floors unfinished.

• If you’re doing a new build, use flood-resistant building materials.

Concrete 

Concrete is exceptionally strong and rigid. Concrete walls can be covered with stucco or siding. If you want a more industrial, raw look you can leave the concrete exposed. These are the advantages of concrete houses:

1. Concrete can be pummeled and endure extreme weather much better than other houses would.

2. Concrete homes are built to last.

3. Concrete is non-combustible, unlike a wood-framed house.

Steel

Steel-framed houses are built similarly to wood-framed houses. They use stud walls as bearing walls for the house, although the detailing is different. These are the advantages of steel-framing:

1. Steel is non-combustible.

2. Buildings with steel framing, sheeting, roofing and trim can endure intense flooding, heavy rains, earthquakes and strong wind.

3. It’s resistant to corrosion.

4. Steel lacks wood’s porosity, so it doesn’t absorb moisture, weaken or rot.

5. Since steel doesn’t seep or absorb moisture, exterior paint won’t be damaged.

6. Steel doesn’t warp, twist or shrink.

7. If a metal-frame house does suffer flood damage, it can be restored much more easily than a wood-frame house.

There are also other ways you can brace your home against the worst:

• Have a licensed land surveyor conduct a full architectural survey of your property, with topography. Afterwards, see if your land has high areas which could be prime locations for your home.

• If you’re doing a new build, elevate your entire house on columns that are at least six feet high.

• Raise your water heater, washer, dryer, oil tank, furnace and any electrical wiring onto concrete blocks, above the base flood elevation (BFE). If you can’t raise these items, you can protect them with a floodwall or shield.

• Install flood shields or built-up barriers for basement windows and doors. The tops of the shields and barriers should extend above the BFE.

• Keep sewer lines from backing up by installing standpipes or backflow valves. 

• Install a sump pump system if you have below-grade floors.

• Landscape with native plants that resist erosion. Here are some:

Ground covers

1. Autumn sage

2. Phlox

3. Vinca

4. Ivy

Shrubs

1. Buckwheat

2. Sulphur buckwheat

3. Apache plume

4. Wild lilac

 Trees

1. California live oak

2. Flowering dogwood

3. White alder

4. Lodgepole pine

Avoid using grass for erosion control. Many varieties of grass can actually worsen erosion, so other groundcovers are a safer choice. Also, avoid highly flammable plants. These include:

Ornamental juniper

— Leyland cypress

– Eucalyptus

— Rosemary

Flood Map

A flood map is a tool that can help you understand, hypothetically, your area’s flood risk. Flood maps are meant to heighten awareness about potential floods in specific regions. They’re user-friendly and accessible at FEMA’s online service center.

Simply type in your entire address, and their system will generate a highly detailed topographical on-screen flood map, along with a precise legend regarding your area’s flood risk. Keep in mind that a flood map is only a guideline, not a predictor. Floods can happen anywhere, but some areas are particularly vulnerable to them.

First Aid Lessons

Floods are life-threatening events with effects so catastrophic that first responders may not immediately reach you. You can provide vital first aid care until they arrive. Red Cross first aid lessons will help prepare you for emergencies when time and knowledge are of the essence.

When you take a course, you’ll get a two-year certification and access to refresher courses. Classes are OSHA-compliant. You can learn:

• First aid

This training includes:

— Burns

— Choking

— Asthma emergencies

— External bleeding

— Poisoning

— Seizure

CPR.  

CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training gives you the skills needed to help during cardiac emergencies that affect: 

— Adults

— Children

— Infants

— Cats and dogs

AED

AED (automated external defibrillator) training.

Most offices and public buildings are equipped with AEDs. Defibrillators are medical devices that analyze the heartbeat and then normalize it by sending an electric shock to the heart.

After you call 911, it will take about eight to 12 minutes for first responders to arrive. In severe conditions, where they may be overwhelmed by emergencies, you’re on the frontline. For every minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival reduces by approximately 10 percent. Classes will teach you how and when to use an AED. 

CPR/AED

First Aid/CPR/AED courses are typically combined so that you can learn these skills in one easy class.

The cost of these courses varies, depending on your location and whether you take the stand-alone courses or the blended ones. They can be taken in person or via the Red Cross’ Simulated Learning, which blends online education with in-person classes.

First Aid Kits

It’s wise to keep a first-aid kit at home, in your car and at work. You can get first aid kits at drugstores or from the Red Cross. You can also put your own first aid kit together. It should at least contain the following 13 items:

• Gauze pads (at least 4 x 4 inches)

• Two large gauze pads

• One gauze roller bandage

• One box of adhesive bandages

• Two triangular bandages

• Wound cleaner

• Scissors

• Tweezers

• Adhesive tape

• Latex gloves

• Resuscitation equipment such as a resuscitation bag

• Two elastic wraps

• One splint

When it comes to floods, preparation can be your best defense. A key part of that preparation is having flood insurance in place. Yet last year, a shocking 85 percent of homeowners didn’t have flooding insurance. Don’t be part of that 85 percent. Now is the time to contact Neptune Flood. We’ll help waterproof your life. 

flooding, neptune flood

Flooding Insurance: Why You May Need It

By | Flood Info

When a hurricane watch — or worse, a hurricane warning — has been issued, it’s too late to suddenly realize that you should have gotten flood insurance. Or maybe you thought it was already part of your policy, only to find out, as the storm was bearing down and you were scrabbling through your insurance documents, that it’s not.

According to Lynne McChristian, consultant to the Insurance Information Institute (III), “Most people fail to read their insurance contract to understand what’s covered and what’s not, and then they’re surprised…they didn’t have the coverage.”

At some point, we’ve all waited until the last minute to do something. When it comes to hurricanes, though, the stakes are too high for that kind of gamble. Once a storm watch or warning has been announced, insurance companies don’t permit homeowners to buy new or additional coverage.

Hurricanes have one thing going for them: they have a specific season (June 1 through November 30) so you can have flooding insurance in place long before cyclones develop. Here’s what you need to know about hurricane-related insurance so you can be prepared long before disaster strikes.

Does my homeowners insurance cover flooding?

No. Homeowners insurance never covers floods. You’ll need to have separate flood insurance that covers tropical storms, overflowing rivers and torrential rain. Remember that only one inch of water can cause $25,000 worth of damage to your home. If you procrastinate, you’re playing Russian Roulette. So it’s good to know that Neptune Flood can provide affordable flood coverage backed by the same cutting-edge technology used by NASA and the Federal government. 

Is there a waiting period for flood insurance?

One option for flood insurance is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is administered by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). However, this type of insurance has its limitations. It’s only available to residents of participating communities. Neptune’s insurance is available to anyone who has an internet connection.

Additionally, if you buy your flood insurance through the NFIP, coverage won’t start until 30 days from the purchase date. If a hurricane strikes within that 30-day period, your policy won’t cover flood-related damage to your home or possessions. Let’s say flooding starts a day before your policy kicks in – you’ll be in great danger.

However, if you obtain insurance from Neptune Flood, you’ll have full coverage after only 10 days instead of 30. 

Is there another way to get last-minute flood insurance?

Turning to a private insurance company is your best bet for obtaining insurance. Private insurers will assess the risk related to your home based on its location, history and vulnerability. If they decide the risk is too high, they may decline you.

Keep in mind, too, that most insurers stop selling flood policies when there’s a hurricane watch. According to the National Hurricane Center, a hurricane watch is defined as the 36 hours in advance of a potentially fierce storm. It means “watch out.” A warning, on the other hand, is dire — it means the storm is looming and it’s time to evacuate.

Can I get last-minute flood coverage for my car?

Car insurers usually won’t sell or update policies if your location is under a hurricane watch. If a watch hasn’t been issued yet, talk to your agent about adding comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage is insurance that covers incidents other than car accidents. If you’re greenlighted to buy one, there’s no waiting period.

Do I need coverage if I live in a low-risk zone?

Even if you live in an area that has a low risk of a direct hurricane hit, there’s still a chance that you could be assailed by a storm and its accompanying deluge. As a matter of fact, people outside of high-risk areas file more than 25 percent of all flood claims.

Storm surge is also a dangerous offshoot of a hurricane and can pummel seemingly low-risk areas. Storm surge is a tsunami-like torrent of water that’s pushed ashore by a hurricane. It poses a massive flood risk, not only along the shore but inland. To illustrate this, Hurricane Katrina spawned a 28-foot storm surge, flooding 12 miles inland in Mississippi.

When a hurricane makes landfall, it can also release terrifying downpours. When Katrina barreled into New Orleans, not only did apocalyptic floods ensue, but it overwhelmed the city’s levees and drainage canals. Nearly 80 percent of the city was underwater.

I’ve heard of flood maps — what are they?

A flood map is a map of hypothetical floods depicting the chances of floods in your area. The map is divided into zones illustrating the frequency and intensity of floods These maps are not predictors of where water will actually go during a hurricane or how severe floods will be. It’s only a guideline and shouldn’t be depended upon for insurance preparation. 

What does flood insurance protect?

Flood insurance divides your home’s personal property and structural property into two policies that must be purchased separately. Here’s how Neptune’s flood insurance, covering two types of property, eclipses NFIP’s coverage:

• Contents — NFIP offers maximum coverage of $100,000 for personal property (clothing, furniture, beds, etc.), in actual cash value. This means it only covers the cost of replacing damaged or lost contents based solely on their depreciated value. For greater peace of mind, Neptune Flood offers up to $500,000 comprehensive coverage for your home’s contents.

• Home — NFIP tops off coverage at $250,000, which replaces damaged property (foundation, carpet, etc.) with new property, regardless of depreciation, if you’re insuring a single-family, primary residence. Neptune Flood offers higher limits of up to $2,000,000 for the home where you’ve made wonderful memories.

We can also go above and beyond by providing replacement cost, temporary living expenses, basement contents, pool repair/refill and detached structures. And we offer enhanced flood coverage that can save you up to 25 percent on your premium.

What about FEMA assistance?

If you suffer hurricane-related flood damages without insurance, FEMA assistance may sound like a white knight that will come in and save the day. However, it comes with strings attached, so it’s not a quick fix. Federal disaster assistance is only provided when there’s a Presidential Disaster Declaration. President Donald Trump issued disaster declarations for Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria because their damages, including floods, were cataclysmic. 

However, most floods don’t command a declaration. Additionally, if you are unable to attain a FEMA grant, you’ll have a low-interest disaster loan hanging over your head, and you’ll be required to immediately pay back the loan debt you already have on your property.

Did you know that disaster assistance from FEMA won’t return your home to pre-hurricane condition or replace most of your cherished belongings? Also, remember that FEMA evoked scathing criticism during Hurricane Katrina when the agency’s aid was allegedly late or nonexistent.

This may be what you have to look forward to if you don’t have flooding insurance in place in advance. 

Can forecasters predict what type of hurricane will hit?

As with any type of prediction, there’s always room for error. However, AccuWeather forecasters anticipate that the 2019 hurricane season will be near- to above-normal, with 12 to 14 storms. Five to seven of those storms are expected to become hurricanes and two to four are forecast to become major hurricanes (Category Three or greater).

Looking at the 2018 season gives chilling evidence of what actually did happen. The season produced a total of 16 named storms. These included eight hurricanes — a whopping half of the named storms – that were Category Three, Four or Five.

“This year,” says AccuWeather Atlantic hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski, “we think that there will be a few less hurricanes. But again, the old saying is, ‘It only takes one.’ ”

Neptune Flood understands how a hurricane could shatter the life you’ve worked so hard to build. That’s why we encourage you to buy insurance from us far in advance of the hurricane season. Time is of the essence, so contact us today and you’ll be ready for the worst and backed by the best.