Mississippians Should Purchase Flood Insurance Now


BILOXI, Miss. -- As Mississippians continue to recover from Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 hurricane season is fast approaching. Due to the 30-day waiting period following the purchase of a new policy, residents have less than ten days to activate a new flood insurance policy in time for the June 1 start date.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which oversees the National Food Insurance Program (NFIP), encourages all Mississippi residents to seriously consider protecting their homes and valuables with a flood insurance policy.

"We must be mindful that another hurricane season is upon us," said Sid Melton, director of the FEMA Mississippi Transitional Recovery Office. "Having a flood insurance policy is an important step Mississippi residents can take to protect their property and belongings."

Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States in terms of lives lost and damage to property. Mississippi has more than 5.2 million acres of floodplain and approximately 25 percent of all flood damage in the state occurs outside of mapped floodplains.

Yet, of the more than 880,000 homeowners in Mississippi, less than 100,000 have flood insurance policies.

"Many Mississippi homeowners neglect to purchase flood insurance because they do not realize that all residents of our state live in a flood zone," said Mike Womack, director for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). "The only difference is whether you live in a low, moderate, or high risk area."

The purchase of flood insurance is not restricted to those living in a Special Flood Hazard Area, zones A and V. The only requirement is that you reside in a community participating in the NFIP program. Currently, Mississippi has 290 participating communities.

"Some people are not aware that in the event of a flood, their homeowner's insurance policy is not going to cover their losses," Womack said.

Since 1978, Mississippians who have flood insurance have received $2.8 billion in claims from the National Flood Insurance Fund.

Flood insurance is available to homeowners, business owners and renters. Policies offer up to $250,000 coverage for homeowners and up to $500,000 for business owners at an average cost of $450 per year. An additional $100,000 of coverage for contents can be purchased as well. Premiums are substantially less in moderate and low flood risk zones - Shaded X and Un-shaded X.

In order to purchase flood insurance, residents should contact their insurance agents. To locate an agent who sells flood insurance in your area, go to www.floodsmart.gov and enter your home address into the One-Step Flood Risk Profile. This online tool will also estimate your level of risk as well as your premium.

However, a risk profile is only meant to be used as an advisory tool for general flood hazard awareness and education. Do not use this information to make final decisions regarding the purchase of flood insurance.

To determine your actual flood risk, go to FEMA's Map Service Center www.msc.fema.gov and view the latest flood map for your community. To view a physical copy of the map, contact your local Floodplain Administrator. A Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) is the best source for determining your flood risk.

For questions concerning coverage, contact your local insurance agents or the NFIP Call Center in Biloxi, MS at 1-866-925-8789. To find out if your community participates in the NFIP, go to www.fema.gov/fema/csb.shtm.

Contact information for local Floodplain Administrators:

Hancock County
Jerry Beaugez
228-467-4157
3068 Longfellow Dr.
Trailer #15
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520

Waveland
David Garcia
228-467-2042
335 Coleman Ave.
Building #5
Waveland, MS 39576

Biloxi
Richard Stickler
228-435-6280
676 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Biloxi, MS 39533

Gulfport
Gary Joffrion
228-868-5790
1410 24th Avenue
Gulfport, MS 39501

Pass Christian
Gene Peralta
228-452-3316
203 Fleitas Ave.
Pass Christian, MS 39571

Pascagoula
Steve Mitchell
228-938-6620
4015 14th Street
Pascagoula, MS 39567

Ocean Springs
Terry Agar
228-875-6712
1018 Porter Ave.
Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Moss Point
Mayor Xavier Bishop
228-475-0300
4412 Denny Ave.
Moss Point, MS 39563

Gautier
Paul Fox
228-497-1878
3305 Gautier-Vancleave Rd.
Gautier, MS 39553

Jackson County
Ben Taylor
228-769-7114
2902 Shortcut Rd.
Bldg. A
Pascagoula, MS 39567

Bay St. Louis
Josh Hayes
228-466-5517
688 U.S. Highway 90
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520

Harrison County
Richard Herrin
228-832-1622
15309 Community Rd.
Gulfport, MS 39503

D'Iberville
Hank Rogers
228-392-7966
10383 Automall Pkwy.
D'Iberville, MS 39540

Long Beach
Earl Levens
228-863-1554
645 Klondyke Rd.
Long Beach, MS 39560

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.





Published on: 2008-04-24

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