Stronger Wisconsin Press Release, February 10, 2022, WI Agency Secretaries Recognize Flood Insurance Awareness Week with Visits in Western Wisconsin

February 10, 2022

For more information contact Sarah Smith, Director of Public Affairs, (608) 209-6309 or sarah.smith2​

WI Agency Secretaries Recognize Flood Insurance Awareness Week with ​
Visits in Western Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. – This week Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Nathan Houdek, Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) Secretary Dawn Crim, and Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) Secretary-designee Cheryll Olson-Collins met with local leaders and consumers in Sparta and Eau Claire to encourage flood risk mitigation.

“Today's snow is tomorrow's flood, so it is never too early to prepare for potential disasters," said Commissioner Houdek. “Just one inch of water can cause up to $25,000 in damages which is an expense that most Wisconsin families can't afford- that's where insurance coverage comes in. Reach out to your insurance agent or visit to get enrolled in a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy today."

Property owners in designated high-risk flood areas are required to purchase flood insurance if they have a federally insured mortgage, but anyone can enroll in flood insurance coverage. In fact, between 2015 to 2019 more than 40% of all NFIP claims came from outside of those high-risk flood areas. NFIP policies provide coverage for flood damage caused by overflowing rivers, snowmelt, or significant rainfall. Homeowners or renters insurance policies do not typically cover flood-related damages.

This week's visits raised awareness of flood damage risks and encouraged NFIP enrollment while connecting the dots between stakeholders that pla​y a role in climate resiliency efforts.

On Wednesday, Commissioner Houdek and DFI Secretary-designee Olson-Collins visited Sparta to meet with Monroe County staff to learn about the community-wide investments they've made to reduce flooding damage after recent catastrophic events. Marty Severson, a consumer who was impacted by severe flooding, also joined to share his personal story.

“Insurance is an important financial security tool," said DFI Secretary-designee Olson-Collins. “Marty's story proved that. His choice to enroll in flood insurance coverage saved him and his family from the potentially devastating costs of flood damage recovery. I encourage everyone to flood-proof their finances with flood insurance coverage."

Learn more about Marty's story here.

On Thursday, Commissioner Houdek and DSPS Secretary Crim sat down with the City of Eau Claire to learn about their participation in the Community Rating System (CRS)  with the NFIP. Eau Claire is one of fewer than 20 municipalities in Wisconsin that participate in the CRS even though participation may save residents as much as 45% on their NFIP premiums. Communities may qualify for the CRS by taking actions like conducting flood hazard outreach, putting higher regulatory standards in place, preparing a flood hazard mitigation plan, acquiring flood-prone buildings, and more.   

“Our Stronger ​Wisconsin outreach visits have shown that community-wide efforts like those taken by Monroe County and Eau Claire are the most effective way to build a more climate resilient state," said DSPS Secretary Crim. “CRS participation also helps these communities reduce NFIP policy premiums making it easier for people to access flood insurance coverage. We've learned a lot in these discussions and will continue to use our agency roles to support climate resiliency."

This week's visits were part of the Stronger Wisconsin campaign to raise awareness of the threats posed by climate change and highlight successful community resiliency efforts. Learn more about Stronger Wisconsin here.