Flood Insurance: What it is and why you need it

Flooding is the most common and expensive natural disaster, but few businesses and homeowners are adequately prepared and insured.  According the NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) floods can happen during heavy rains, when ocean waves come on shore, when snow melts quickly, or when dams or levees break. Damaging flooding may happen with only a few inches of water, or it may cover a house to the rooftop. Floods can occur within minutes or over a long period, and may last days, weeks, or longer. Floods are the most common and widespread of all weather-related natural disasters. 

Flood insurance covers losses directly caused by flooding. In simple terms, a flood is an excess of water on land that is normally dry, affecting two or more acres of land or two or more properties.

Flood insurance is separate from Home or Property insurance. It is written by the National Flood Insurance Program  (NFIP) and administered by FEMA. The NFIP has an arrangement with private insurance companies to sell and service flood insurance policies. Flood coverage is separate because floods are expensive for insurers to cover in a standard policy while keeping premiums affordable. Floods are extremely costly and very common in flood-prone areas. It typically takes up to 30 days for a policy to go into effect, so the time to buy is well before a disaster.

There are two types of flood insurance, Building Coverage and Content Insurance.

Building Coverage covers:

  • Electrical and plumbing systems
  • Furnaces and water heaters
  • Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances like dishwashers
  • Permanently installed carpeting
  • Permanently installed cabinets, paneling, and bookcases
  • Window blinds
  • Foundation walls, anchorage systems, and staircases.
  • Detached garages
  • Fuel tanks, well water tanks and pumps, and solar energy equipment

Content Insurance Covers:

  • Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
  • Curtains
  • Washer and dryer
  • Portable and window air conditioners
  • Microwave oven
  • Carpets not included in building coverage (e.g., carpet installed over wood floors)
  • Valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)

If your property is located in a higher-risk flood zone, your lender may require it. Flood insurance is also available if you are not in a high-risk flood zone, and property owners may be eligible to purchase the coverage at lower-cost preferred rates. Even if the property isn’t in a flood zone, it may be wise to carry the coverage.

1.       Direct water away from structures, expand stormwater cache systems and have sand bags at the ready.

2.       Store goods a minimum of 8 to 12 inches above historic flood heights.

3.       Have an evacuation plan in place.

4.       Do a structural and site survey to evaluate year-round weather-related stressors like the weight of snow and ice, storm surge, surface water flooding, mud slides, and dam breaks/levee failures.


Nine ways to support local businesses after a winter storm

  • Shop Local and Encourage Others to Do the Same:
    • Online shopping at big retailers is easy and convenient but for the next few months, take to the local area for shopping and dining.  This can help businesses recover lost revenue and maintain financial stability.
  • Participate in Local Events or Promotions:
    • Attend local events or promotions organized by businesses to boost foot traffic. Many businesses may host special sales or events to attract customers after a snowstorm.
  • Promote Online Sales:
    • Encourage businesses to enhance their online presence and offer online sales. Supporting e-commerce can be vital for businesses that face challenges with in-person transactions due to snow-related disruptions.
  • Volunteer for Debris Removal:
    • Offer to help local businesses with debris removal efforts. Clearing pathways, parking lots, and entrances can make it easier for customers to access the businesses.
  • Spread the Word on Social Media:
    • Use social media to promote local businesses and share updates on their status post-snowstorm. Encourage others in the community to do the same, creating a positive online presence for affected businesses.
  • Donate to Business Recovery Funds:
    • Check if there are local business recovery funds or initiatives and contribute if possible. These funds can provide financial support to businesses struggling to recover after a snowstorm.
  • Offer Business Services or Expertise:
    • If you have relevant skills or services, consider offering them to local businesses at reduced rates or pro bono. This could include marketing support, accounting services, or assistance with insurance claims.
  • Encourage Employee Support:
    • Encourage businesses to communicate openly with their employees and provide support as needed. This could include flexibility with work hours, remote work options, or assistance in navigating challenges posed by the snowstorm.
  • Organize Fundraising or Community Events:
    • Coordinate fundraising events or initiatives to gather financial support for affected businesses. Community events, such as pop-up markets or fairs, can also bring attention to local businesses.

We are fortunate to have in the Portland Metro area a multitude of distinctive shops, creative services and fine dining, many which need our support during this recovery time, so take some times to shop generously and eat well. 


Baker Family Foundation has grown and added the Josh Brown Youth Memorial Soccer Scholarship

Since 2021 the The Baker Family Foundation (BFF) has dedicated itself to giving back to the Portland community, so much so, BFF has established a new website dedicated to the cause.

The Baker Family Foundation was established in 2021 by Marc Baker, President of Elliott, Powell, Baden and baker Insurance and his wife Sherri Sacconaghi. The Baker Family Foundation is a 501c3 that works in conjunction with Elliott, Powell, Baden and Baker, Inc. Community donations and corporate sponsorship money donated to BFF are funneled directly to the local charitable organization  EPB&B so generously supports.

The success of BFF has grown rapidly allowing the foundation to give tens of thousands of dollars to local grassroots non profits on the Portland area community, and just recently BFF has added a new scholarship program that is very personal to the Baker family. On December 25h of 2023, Josh Brown, the nephew of Marc Baker died suddenly in a tragic car accident. The Baker family channeled their grief by honouring the man they so loved by creating the Josh Brown Youth Memorial Soccer Scholarship. .Those who had the privilege of knowing Josh know that he was man who had two great passions; playing soccer, and coaching kids in the sport he so loved. It is in his honor that his family created the Josh Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship fund. One Hundred percent of the money donated to the fund will be used to cover the cost of playing club soccer for two or more selected players annually and have a demonstrated passion for the game, who without financial assistance, would otherwise be unable to play their sport at the club level. The family appreciates any support that supports this mission in the name of Josh.

It is the generosity of the clients, professional partners and team at EPB&B , along with the support of the people in the Portland Community that allows The Baker Family Foundation to continue it’s mission of providing help and hope to those in our community and we thank you.


Five safety tips for driving in snow and ice

Remember, it’s crucial to stay informed about weather and road conditions  before heading out. If conditions are extremely hazardous, consider delaying your trip or using alternative transportation.

Even in the best conditions accidents can happen but wintery weather can increase the chance of skidding and loss of control. Contact EPB&B Insurance to ensure your auto insurance has you covered for this winter. And please buckle up, your safety is important to us.


The use of Artificial Intelligence may be putting your company at risk

Cyber security and Artificial Intelligence will continue to to be a hot topic in 2024; Most recently regarding companies being banned from using AI facial recognition.  From identity checks at the airport and your local pharmacy, to biometric data used for site security or in policing – the use of facial recognition software and artificial intelligence in your company  can expose your organization in ways you may not have contemplated.  

Biometric data can include fingerprints, eye scans, voice or facial recognition, and it is some of the most personal and private information that an individual posses.  Organizations have a duty to disclose when they are collecting this type of information, and are subject to both U.S. and international privacy laws that require them to keep this data secure.  These laws are put in place to prevent the misuse of a person’s private data.  If you fail to get authorization to collect and use the data, or if you suffer a data breach or cyber security incident that results in unauthorized disclosure, the resulting claims are costly in terms of both defense and remediation.  Using artificial intelligence can introduce unintended biases and errors into the way information is being processed, and potentially violate basic anti-discrimination rights.  Boards and stakeholders would do well to tread carefully with this new technology, and take the following precautions:

1.       PERSMISSIONS: Employers must always get written permission with employee signature to collect and use biometric data, and purge that data as soon as it is no longer needed or the employee leaves the company.

2.       DISCLOSURES: If you are an organization using the technology with the public or as part of your service offering – there must be a “opt in” and disclosure that explicitly states what data is being gathered, how it is being stored and secured, how is being used, whether the data can be shared with outside organizations, and how individuals can request that their data be removed and deleted.

The real danger goes beyond your organization.  If safeguards are not in place, bad actors may be able to infiltrate the systems and effect mass surveillance of a population, or have the ultimate tools for identity theft for the life of the individual impacted.  

Cyber Security insurance, Directors & Officers Liability coverage and Employment Practices Liability coverage may have limitations, exclusions or sublimits for a violation of rights on biometric data, or a failure to safeguard – do you know how your policy would respond?