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Most business insurance policies exclude flood damage. In some cases, that may put the company out of business. (Photo: Shutterstock)

By now, we’ve all had ample time to reflect on the natural disasters that rattled 2017 and to grasp the sheer magnitude of the year’s events in terms of both human and financial costs. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 16 separate disasters in the U.S., each with damages exceeding $1 billion, generated total record losses in excess of $306 billion. Much of the damage was the result of flooding, including historic floods associated with Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana, and record high water levels in Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois.

The devastation has certainly reminded some homeowners and business owners of the need for sound contingency planning and adequate insurance coverage, but it may have relayed a subtle, counterproductive message to others: that only certain regions of the country — and certain properties — are susceptible to catastrophe at select times of the year, and that what we saw last year was relatively unique and rare.

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