New FEMA maps may lead to more flood insurance policy sales
A higher number of homeowners may soon find themselves being required to purchase coverage.
In Tennessee, many homeowners who have never had to purchase a flood insurance policy before might find that situation changing. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has updated its flood maps and in certain counties, this has meant considerable change.
For instance, in Davidson county, Tennessee, over 4,400 properties are newly considered to be in high risk zones.
This means that thousands of property owners are also finding themselves in need of a flood insurance policy for the first time. This has caused some homeowners to need to learn about the risk of flooding for the first time. That case is particularly common among people who have only recently purchased their homes.
The flood risk models used by FEMA to create its flood maps take several factors into account. Those factors include topography, river flow, flood-control efforts, rainfall and even alterations to the landscape occurring as a result of development and construction.
Many of the maps have been considerably out of date, explaining the need for more flood insurance policy purchases.
The last update to the maps in the region was in 2001. Since that time, engineers have flown laser instrumentation over a larger number of Tennessee’s various county regions. This has improved the quality and accuracy of the base map topography. This, according to Metro Water Services assistant director of storm water, Tom Palko.
With that new information, it was possible to develop more accurate flood models. Furthermore, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted a survey of areas that had not previously experienced detailed survey.
Palko pointed out that the purpose of the flood maps “is to identify risk.” He explained that areas that had not previously been surveyed now have more accurate risk assessments applied to them for the first time. Before these most recent assessments, the risk to buildings and people living in those areas was unknown. This helps to explain why such a large number of property owners are now required to purchase a flood insurance policy. It isn’t always that the risk has increased as much as the fact that it was unknown until recently.