by Caitlin Bronson | Mar 26, 2014
A DIC policy would cover for damages resulting from Saturday’s slide, as well as mudflow, earthquake and flood. However, despite a historic incidence of landslides in the Pacific Northwest, just 4,700 home and business owners in Washington state have a DIC policy in place.
“That means far less than 1% have a policy like this,” Newman said, adding that no evidence has emerged that any of the victims of the Oso landslide had a DIC policy covering their home at the time of the damage.
Newman puts that down to the extra cost—about $1,000 a year for a $300,000 home—as well as the mistaken belief that FEMA will provide disaster aid to cover the cost of the home or business. In reality, FEMA typically offers low-interest loans with payments due in addition to mortgage on a home that no longer exists.
Further complicating the problem is the fact that a majority of home and business owners—and even their agents—are unaware that DIC coverage exists.
“We would encourage agents and brokers, in light of the tragedy, to take that extra step in really encouraging a home or business owner to consider difference in conditions coverage,” Newman said. “Even if you don’t write it, at least refer them to an agent or broker who does.”
The Insurance Marketplace offers a comprehensive overview of agents who sell differences in cost coverage and other surplus lines in all 50 states. Agents advising clients who own a home or business near an incline would do well to consult the database if they themselves do not work with carriers offering the coverage.
Newman said it is “far too early” to estimate damages of the landslide, but any payouts will likely come from several of the major carriers. Currently, at least 24 people are dead and 176 more are missing. That number may grow in coming weeks, Snohomish County, Wash. officials said.