Friday, October 16, 2009

Naches residents' worries turn from huge landslide to flooding

In Naches, where a massive landslide collapsed onto Highway 410 Sunday, residents have a new worry: flooding.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports that Yakima County officials are asking the Army Corps of Engineers for advice on creating a new river channel, after the landslide buried the normal river channel, damming the flow of water. A temporary road giving residents access could soon be engulfed by rising winter stream flows, potentially cutting off road access to a dozen homes for months. From the story:

Some 12 homes are in the immediate area. Some have water around them now. County Commissioner Mike Leita said those owners are being advised to purchase flood insurance as soon as possible.

Homeowners in the area are also discovering a painful fact about homeowner's coverage: Most policies do not cover earthquakes/landslides or floods. You almost always have to buy separate coverage for those sorts of risks.

That said, it may be possible that their policies do not have such an exclusion or that they bought such coverage years ago and don't remember it. Anyone from the area with questions should first talk to their agent or insurance company regarding the specific coverage in force at the time of the landslide. If they still have questions -- or want to review the language in the policy -- they should call our consumer hotline at 1-800-562-6900 or send an e-mail to our consumer affairs division at CAD@oic.wa.gov.

As for flood coverage: Talk to your agent immediately about getting coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program. (If you don't have an agent or broker, call the program directly at 1-888-379-9531.) And do it now -- in most cases it takes 30 days for a new policy to take effect.

We have extensive information about flood coverage, different options, what it covers, etc. on this page of our website.

See how Washington compares on health coverage

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently launched their updated 2008 health coverage data with new numbers from the most recent census. This is a handy site for learning more about how people get coverage and for helping understand who makes up the uninsured.

Their site includes data on how people get coverage and specific details on the uninsured, such as their family work status, their gender, and their ethnicity.

If you’re a visual person, check out their handy map tool. You can compare Washington to the national average and other states on a number of issues, from how many people buy individual health insurance, are on Medicaid or the number of uninsured. Just click through the left hand side of the page to see all of the categories.

Here are some key slides from their new report: