Herald JournalHoward Lake-Waverly Herald, July 1, 2002

Residents cautioned about 'flood' insurance claims

By Lynda Jensen

Filing insurance might be unwittingly made worse by flood victims reeling from flood loss, commented Howard Lake Mayor Gerry Smith.

Smith spoke during an emergency meeting Saturday, where US Senator Mark Dayton and Wright County Commissioner Dick Mattson attended in Howard Lake.

"Ask what you are covered for first," Smith instructed residents, before telling the insurance company what the damage is."

In fact, since Howard Lake is not a river, the term "flood" may not be correct in the first place, and may unnecessarily negate some insurance coverage, Smith said.

The water came from the ground up, not from over the land, he noted. This may make a difference in some policies.

Howard Lake is not in a flood plain, and a television station unfairly criticized the city recently for not keeping insurance offered by the Federal Emergency Management Association, Smith said. The city applied for this insurance five years ago and was denied because the city was not in a flood plain, he said.

In addition, Smith urged residents to forcefully check on their neighbors, who may be elderly, or too proud to call their damage in; wanting others to be tended to first, he said. "If you haven't seen them, check on them," he said.

Currently, Wright County is in the process of making preliminary damage assessments. This may take weeks. From there, FEMA will start its preliminary assessment, he said.

FEMA is not in the area, even though a scam artist has already been detected proclaiming himself as a FEMA person visiting the mobile home court, Smith said.

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