Ascension leader issues flood insurance reminder _lowres

Photo provided by Lester Kenyon -- Only the top half of a fire hydrant on East Silverleaf Street in Gonzales was visible during a heavy rain event that hit Ascension Parish and the surrounding area in May 2014.

Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa is reminding parish residents to buy flood insurance as soon as possible.

“Every resident and business owner in Ascension Parish is at some level of flood risk,” Matassa said. “Flood insurance is available to help reduce the financial impact of a flood whether your building is in a high flood risk area, also known as the Special Flood Hazard Area, or not.”

Sources of flooding include riverine dwellings or having a dwelling beside a river, flash flooding following a heavy rain, ponding related to drainage issues, backwater flooding, urban flooding and hurricane storm surges, according to Marcia Shivers, parish floodplain coordinator and committee member of the Capital Region Area Floodplain Taskforce, or CRAFT.

Flooding is not covered under a standard homeowner’s policy, Shivers said. “And remember, there’s a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase before your policy goes into effect. Therefore, now is the best time to buy flood insurance,” she said.

CRAFT is made up of officials from Ascension Parish, East Baton Rouge Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, Central, Denham Springs, Gonzales, Walker and Zachary who meet regularly to discuss the Community Rating System, a voluntary program that offers incentives to help reduce flood insurance premiums for residents.

CRAFT communities participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, enforce floodplain management activities that reduce flood damage, support the NFIP and support a comprehensive approach to floodplain management, a news release said.

According to CRAFT, flood insurance claims are paid even when federal disaster assistance is not available. The costs of flood policies vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers and the property’s flood risk. Ascension Parish carries a flood insurance rating of 8, which provides a 10 percent discount for all flood insurance policies being issued in the parish, the release said.

For information, contact a licensed insurance agent or visit floodsmart.gov/floodsmart.