In the mid-60s, I was an officer of a large savings and loan association. While branches in other parts of the State of Texas, the home office was in Galveston, where I lived and worked.
In 1968, the US Government established the National Flood Insurance Program. Maps of the entire terrain of the United States were put together by the US Corps of Engineers, delineating all parts that met could possibly flood within the next 100-years.
All federal insured banks, savings and loan, credit unions, and other lending institutions were then required to make flood insurance mandatory for real estate loans that they made on property within a 100-year flood zone.
Topographical surveys as well as area and boundary surveys were, in many flood-prone areas, required by the lending institution's federal insurer as well as by the mortgage company. When the closing of the purchase took place, in general, title companies would explain the topographical and aread survey to the buyers, and have them sign the document acknowledging that they had seen it.
Apparently somewhere along the way, a large percentage of the population were not required to purchase flood insurance, or encouraged to do so by their homeowner's carrier, their Realtor or their lender.
So the idea that those homes may be subjected to flood was overlooked. Many, like one of my friends, lived in a prominent subdivision of Houston, and never knew that it was subjected to flooding. And it didn't for the first 25 or so years he lived there; but then it did when Hurricane Harvey struck. And the flood waters consumed his home.
So because areas that are subjected to flood were allowed to be developed, and owners of that real estate were allowed to not carry flood insurance, the Federal Government, in the case of Harvey, is already on the hook so far for $6 billion in assistance.
The companies, individuals, states, counties, cities and other taxing authorities who knowingly allowed these flood prone areas to be developed apparently won't be held legally culpable.
So the question is, why aren't all real estate property insurers required to include flood coverage in all policies, regardless of whether or not they are in an area within a designated flood plain?
How many homeowners, whose homes were damaged beyond repair by flood waters, are going to walk away from their homes, and allow them to be foreclosed by the mortgage holder? And why should be government provide assistance for rebuilding of homes where the owner chose to be uninsured?
Re4al estate owners should be required to insure their property against all perils whether they have a mortgage or not.
BILL CHERRY, REALTOR