All You Need To Know About Business Flood Insurance

Floods represent a significant risk to any business or home – whether you’re on the coast or in a land-locked city. The truth is that all 50 states have experienced recent floods, and the United States government estimates the average property damage due to flooding to be over $3.5 billion annually.

With an average commercial flood insurance claim totaling around $89,000 over the past five years, it’s unsurprising – yet alarming – that at least one in four businesses that close after a natural disaster never reopen.

What usually causes floods?

So, how do you protect yourself and your business from the threat of flood damage? Let’s start by looking at how floods typically get started:

  • Storm surges: Characteristically in hurricane-prone areas
  • Flash flooding: Caused by periods of intense rainfall
  • Mudslides: Derived from heavy rain on a hill or mountainside
  • Snowmelt: Occurs when the frozen ground is unable to absorb excess water
  • Ice jams: Forms when an ice chunk in flowing water blocks passageways to cause overflow
  • Urban development: New construction and/or ground paving that alters the topography by not allowing proper drainage

Doesn’t my current general policy cover flood damage?

Here’s the kicker: a general policy (like a business owners insurance policy) will typically not cover flood damage. This is one of the biggest misunderstandings about general policies and flood protection. If your business is located in a high-risk flood zone, you are legally required to purchase a separate flood insurance policy, provided you have a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender.

Most communities in the United States can obtain flood insurance coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which covers all floods discussed above. To ensure fair pricing, every commercial flood insurance agent answers to this government agency. This means that while flood insurance is backed by the government, it is sold to consumers through private insurers – like Acentria Insurance!

Who should purchase flood insurance?

The NFIP uses two main standards, as well as several sub-categories, to both categorize a company’s risk for flooding and determine its premiums.

Moderate-to-low-risk buildings (Zones B, C and X): These buildings are either located outside the one percent annual chance floodplain or have less than one percent annual chance of sheet-flow flooding (where average depths are less than one foot). Buildings in these areas also might qualify if there is less than one percent chance of stream flooding (when the contributing drainage area is less than one square mile or is protected by levees).

High-risk buildings (Zones A and V): These buildings are located within a certain floodplain distance from a river, lake or stream. Zone V buildings sit within a minimum distance from the coast, exposing them to ocean-related natural disasters.

It’s important to note that although your building may be classified as low-risk, it doesn’t mean you’re safe from the dangers of flooding: the NFIP reports that low-risk communities represent 1/3 of all paid annual claims. Non-water-related events, such as new land development that changes runoff patterns, make lower-risk communities more suspensible to flood damage.

See a complete list of sub-categories and determine your own flood zone.

What does flood insurance cover?

There are two types of commercial building flood insurance coverage, and policyholders can opt to buy one or both.

Commercial Contents: Covers inventory, merchandise, machinery and any other contents inside your business up to $500,000

Commercial Building: Covers your company’s building and contents up to $500,000 each. Note: if your company does not own the building, the NFIP will cover up to 10 percent of flood-related improvements made to the space.

In addition to these two types of building flood insurance coverage, the NFIP also covers debris removal during the flood clean-up process. Businesses that take steps to protect against or prevent flood damages may be eligible for lower rates, too.

Learn more about how to protect your business against the risk of flood damages.

How much is flood insurance?

Insurers determine flood insurance premium costs based on several factors, such as:

  • Your building’s age, height and occupancy
  • Your company’s location within the building (first floor versus penthouse)
  • The location of the lowest floor in relation to the elevation requirement on the flood map (only applicable to newer buildings)
  • Your chosen deductible and amount of building and contents coverage

If you are located in a low-risk area, you are eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy, which would cover your building (as well as its contents) for a few hundred dollars a year. We advise lower-risk clients to capitalize on this cheaper rate – even if they think a flood is unlikely in their area – because the out-of-pocket premiums are minimal compared to the potential cost of flood damages.

Remember: while federal disaster assistance is available to flood victims, it is usually in the form of a loan that must be paid back with interest. For example, if you received a $50,000 federal loan at four percent interest, your monthly payment would be around $240.

Now, let’s see how your finances would look if you had purchased flood insurance coverage: a $100,000 flood insurance premium could cost your company less than $100 per month.

Ask yourself: which check would you rather write? And how much do you want to save?

OK, I’m in: How Do I Get Started?

All Acentria Insurance agents are well-versed in flood insurance coverage and can craft a customized policy to fit your business needs.

Reach out to learn how you can start – or extend – your flood insurance coverage to keep your business safe and running, no matter what happens.

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Alan Florez

Executive Vice President, National Sales

Alan leads new business growth strategies and expansion, guides the development of resources and training for Sales Producers and their partnerships with Carriers. With over 15 years of industry experience, Alan also leads the Acentria Public Risk divisions working with municipalities and government entities for their coverage needs. He was appointed to the Halifax Health Board of Commissioners December 2020 and also serves as an Executive Committee member for our parent company, Foundation Risk Partners.

Previously, Alan served as Governor Jeb Bush’s Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs and Special Assistant. He is a former member of the University of Central Florida Board of Trustees and currently volunteers his time with the Florida Council of 100, Futures Foundation of Volusia County Schools and the Community Foundation of Flagler and Volusia. Alan holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Central Florida.

Jackie Shaw

Senior Vice President
Commercial Lines

Mitch Weinstein

Partner

As Partner, Mitch oversees the operations of Acentria’s offices located throughout Florida and southeast region. He focuses on strategic business development and is committed to providing clients with exceptional customer service while ensuring the highest levels of standards.

Mary Lawless

President & Chief Operating Officer

As President and Chief Operating Officer, Mary brings over three decades of industry expertise to Acentria Insurance. With a strong focus on Mergers & Acquisitions, Mary is passionate about partnering with new agencies and leaders to continue the overall upward growth of Acentria. She works in conjunction with the CEO to lead and deliver specialized sales products, services and industry leading capabilities while implementing business and sales strategies to the Acentria sales team and carrier partners. Mary has direct oversight of all operational leaders throughout the entire organizational footprint and is responsible for operational financials and budgets.


She empowers her team members and because of it, is well respected by her peers and those she leads. Since her time with Acentria, Mary’s leadership has contributed to the agency’s exponential growth from 15 to well over 50 locations, increasing employment to over 700 team members, across the southeastern United States. Due to her leadership and contributions to the insurance industry, she has been nationally recognized as one of Insurance Business America magazine’s Elite Women and serves as a valuable member on the Executive Committee for Foundation Risk Partners, Acentria’s parent company. Prior to joining Acentria Insurance, Mary led operations for another national broker. Throughout her tenure, she has held a variety of management positions in Personal Lines, Select Business and Employee Benefits. Mary specializes in agency operations, partnerships and acquisitions and is truly passionate about developing team members to become great leaders.


When not shaping the future industry leaders at Acentria Insurance, Mary enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband, Pat and their family and friends.

Kendall McEachern

Co-Founder

Kendall was a fundamental part of Acentria Insurance. As a co-founder, he brought more than 30 years of industry expertise to Acentria, helping transform the organization into a leading insurance provider. Beloved by team members, carrier partners and clients, he oversaw more than 400,000 insured multi-family units with property values greater than $22 billion, and over four million square feet of commercial office space and real estate buildings. Kendall has received numerous industry awards to include being recognized as a National Top Producer and Agent of the Year by both Insurance Business America and Insurance Journal. Away from the office, he served as chairman for the American Heart Association, actively participated in his church and golfing, watching sports and spending time with his family. Kendall passed away in January of 2021, leaving a lasting legacy on Acentria’s culture, success, industry-wide reputation – and on all of us fortunate to have worked alongside him.

Liz Bevelaqua

Senior Vice President
Personal Lines Sales

Doreen Castro

Senior Vice President
Personal Lines Operations

Jessica Davis

Senior Vice President
Marketing & Branding

Jason Cruse

Executive Vice President
Central Florida Sales

Anne Kraus

Vice President
Panhandle of Florida Region

Nathan Marks

Executive Vice President
Northwest Florida and Tallahassee

Brian Stanton

Executive Vice President
West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Florida Keys

Chris Tolland

Executive Vice President
Northeast Florida Sales

Luke Wolkers

Executive Vice President
Benefits

Eric Austin

Operations Lead
Port St. Lucie & West Palm Beach

Alex Doberstein

Vice President
Benefits Resource Leader

Teresa Fillmon

Vice President
Small Business Unit

Kevin Mason

Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

As Chief Executive Officer, Kevin focuses on developing insurance solutions that strengthen Acentria’s presence in the market and its commitment to client-relationships and exceptional service. With over 23 years of industry experience, he specializes in multi-family protection, while focusing on national condominium associations.