Apr 12, 2018

Houston Launches Flood Insurance Billboard Campaign

Officials are aiming to dispel myths surrounding floods and raise awareness of the risks for residents, including those not living in a 100-year floodplain

Houston plans billboards to advocate for flood control and insurance

Houston officials have launched a campaign to put up two dozen billboards urging residents to buy flood insurance in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. According to The Houston Chronicle, the Commissioners Court voted to request $75,000 in grant funds for the billboards that would display messages disproving flood protection myths and encouraging Houston-area residents to opt for flood coverage.

In Harris County, Texas, flood insurance is required by federally backed mortgages for homeowners living in the 100-year floodplain, but beyond that flood insurance is optional. The Harris County Flood Control District estimated that more than 80% of the county’s 1.4 million buildings did not have flood insurance during Hurricane Harvey. Furthermore, a Houston Chronicle analysis found that nearly three-quarters of the 204,000 Harris County homes that flooded during the most recent hurricane were outside of the 100-year floodplain. This raises the question with rising tides and storm intensity increases, should the new insurance standard become the 500-year floodplain or do the current floodplains need to be reassessed?

“It’s important to try to remind people now of flood risk and that it’s very real,” said Jo Anne Howard, former FEMA executive. “It’s not an isolated event in Houston.”

The flood control district anticipates that the billboard campaign would generate 31.2 million impressions among adults over the time period of four weeks once enacted. They expect to hear if they are approved for the grant this summer.