Being “No. 1” is usually a good thing. But Findlay’s ranking in the top five in Ohio in five different categories regarding flood insurance is not good.
Statistics from the National Flood Insurance Program, which show Findlay has filed more claims and has received more in insurance payouts than any other municipality in the state, is just more evidence of how serious flooding has become in northwestern Ohio.
Data gleaned by the Associated Press, and reported in a story (Page A1) on Monday, shows Findlay policyholders have been paid $34.9 million for flood damage since 1984. That’s about three times as much as each of the next four cities on the list, including Ottawa, which received $9.3 million.
While that money has helped hundreds to rebuild after flooding occurs, it shows Hancock and Putnam counties have been disproportionally affected.
For claims filed, Findlay is also tops in Ohio with 1,829. It also ranked in the top five in three other flood categories.
Findlay’s lofty position put it well above places like Cincinnati and Marietta, which has to contend with the Ohio River, and Toledo and Ottawa County, which must deal with the Maumee.
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the cost of flood insurance for many in this area is going to go up.
Of the 1,115 flood insurance policies in Findlay, 809 are subsidized by the government. Of that number, 575 are facing premium increases of 18 percent, while another 234 could see increases of 25 percent in coming years as reforms designed to eliminate the insurance subsidies start to kick in.
If there is a positive in the numbers, it is that they keep northwestern Ohio on the map as it nears the time when we must sell the federal government on its need to fund flood-control projects.
Even though this area doesn’t need any more supporting evidence of that, our representatives could make the argument that by providing financial aid to reduce flood risks, the insurance program would see fewer claims and pay out less.
Once flood-control projects are in place, Findlay would become less of a drain on the insurance program and, over time, premiums would stabilize and become more manageable for landowners.
And perhaps, eventually, Flag City may even be able to shed its other nickname, Flood City.
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