Friday, June 6, 2008

Nothing Numbs Like Time

One interesting behavioral response to natural hazards is people's penchant for complacency after relative dormant periods. Research has shown that people tend to be hyper aware of events right after being impacted. They basically assign a higher probability for the event to reoccur when compared to the true probability of re-occurrence; however, over time, people become complacent.

From the Gulf Breeze News
The poll shows some residents of hurricane-vulnerable states say they will not evacuate and prefer to weather storms at home. Many residents lack disaster plans, and many are still misinformed about how to protect themselves and their families during a storm. The poll shows even many of the residents who live within 30 miles of the coast fail to take proper precautions.
One of the most obvious ways to prepare is through insurance.

The poll revealed several concerns about the adequacy of homeowners' insurance:

Nearly one in four may not have replacement coverage.

45 percent said they have not reviewed their insurance policies with an agent within the last year.

38 percent of residents did not know their standard homeowner's policies do not cover flooding.

27 percent thought their homeowner's insurance covered flood damage, and another 20 percent weren't sure. In fact, flood damage is only covered if homeowners purchase a separate flood insurance policy, such as that offered by the federal government's National Flood Insurance Program.

It is interesting that so many people do not know what type of coverage they have. There has been considerable news coverage over insurance following Katrina. It appears that a large portion of this sample have no idea if their insurance covers flooding. It is likely that many of the sampled people do not live in flood zones, however, you would hope that they make conscious decisions not to buy flood coverage based on existing flood zones. It seems that we have a long way to go to better communicate risks with the public. It is much harder to deal with these issues after events.

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