Follow us:

Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 12, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Oso mudslide: Some mudslide insurance help available

Debra Hoskins, a church pastor, ties yellow ribbons Tuesday onto a bridge crossing the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River, down the road from the slide. “Ribbons signify that you expect the return of a loved one,” she said. (LINDSEY WASSON / The Seattle Times).

As victims of the catastrophic landslide in Oso start rebuilding their lives, many face the additional calamity of having no insurance for the loss of their homes [“Slide erased their homes, but maybe not their loans,” Local News, April 1].

Losses from landslides are not covered by typical homeowner’s insurance. But there may be hope: Homeowners who purchased flood insurance policies from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program should seek compensation under the mudslide-insurance coverage provided by these policies.

If a mudslide claim is turned down, it might seem overwhelming to prove that the damage to a home was caused by a slide covered in the flood-insurance policy. However, a lawyer with a geologist or engineering geologist can demonstrate that the ground failure was, in fact, an insurance-covered mudslide.

The U.S. Congress added mudslide coverage to the National Flood Insurance Program to help victims of mudslides like the Oso event. Not many people are aware of this, but they should be. While statutorily mandated to map flood-related mudslides, FEMA has never done so.

Any person buying or building a home in an area with a mudslide or a flood risk should consider buying a flood-insurance policy.

Arthur Zeizel, retired from FEMA’s Policy and Research Directorate and the National Flood Insurance Program, Bethesda, Md.

Comments | More in Snohomish mudslide | Topics: Arthur Zeizel, FEMA, flood

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►