Politico

Live near water? Get flood insurance, FEMA admin says after Ian.

Anyone living near water should buy flood insurance, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said Sunday, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

“If you live near water, or where it rains, it can certainly flood,” Criswell said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding: “Just because you’re not required to buy flood insurance doesn’t mean you don’t have the option to buy it.”

Most people do not have federal flood insurance, prompting concerns of financial ruin, POLITICO previously reported. The storm has prompted questions about how people should best protect themselves and their property in disasters, whether through building codes, evacuations or insurance.

Hurricane Ian caused widespread flooding across the state of Florida, with some homes “still underwater,” Criswell said. The death toll grew to more than four dozen over the weekend. Many died in Florida from drowning.

Everyone should understand their risks for disaster, regardless of whether they live on the coast, inland or in “tornado alley,” Criswell said. Those rebuilding in Florida after Ian should also “make informed decisions about what their risk is” if they choose to rebuild in the same place.

The state needs to aggressively go after potential fraud in the insurance market, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

In order to get insurance companies to do business in Florida, “you have to have stricter building codes … but then on top of that, you’ve got to make sure there’s no fraud,” Scott said.

Strict building codes are also needed to help ensure people who choose to rebuild in desirable but vulnerable areas stay safe, Scott said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said he is pushing people in his state to get flood insurance.

“We know that particularly in these areas that are hit time and again that we’ve got to be more resilient,” Cooper said.

Mobile manufactured housing — which has been criticized as unsafe in areas prone to natural disasters — can be “good for people to make sure that they have an affordable place to live,” Cooper said, asked whether it should be banned.

“It’s sort of all of the above,” Scott said, asked about mobile manufactured housing on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Scott, a former governor of Florida, said he is concerned about costs because he “grew up in a poor family … You impact the poorest families every time you raise the cost of something. But you also want to keep people safe.”

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