According to a research report released May 14 by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), there is a lack of correlation between property-damage claims and recognized floodplains. This study, The Prevalence and Cost of Urban Flooding, represents the first phase of CNT’s research on the prevalence and cost of flooding to property owners in Chicago’s urban and suburban neighborhoods.
Researchers analyzed 5 years of insurance claims related to flood damage, as well as sewer and drain backups, from Cook County, Ill. These data were combined with an analysis of 115 survey responses from Cook County residents who experienced flooding in the last 5 years.
According to the report, on average, owners of one in six properties across the county made a flooding claim, amounting to $660 million over 5 years. Not only were there economic impacts related to property damage, many people lost valuables, suffered stress, and lost work hours managing the damage cleanup. In addition, payouts came primarily from Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Relief, rather than private insurance or the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program. The report also reveals that claims did not correlate with federally designated floodplains. Researchers did find that the most damage occurred in areas where the median household income fell below Cook County’s average. Read more.