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Roundup: Pennsylvania Homeowners Urged to Buy Flood Coverage

After a snowy winter, the governor of Pennsylvania is urging homeowners to protect themselves from financial damage during the spring flood season by purchasing insurance.

Insurance commissioner Diane Koken, who works for Gov. Ed Rendell, said heavy precipitation from last winter may increase the risk of flood damage this year.

"The melting snow from this year's storms reminds us of the potential for water levels rising in our creeks and streams," Ms Koken said. "Consumers cannot assume that they won't experience flooding because they do not live in a floodplain."

In fact, many of Pennsylvania's communities are built on floodplains, she said, making the state more vulnerable to flooding. According to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the commonwealth has about 83,000 miles of rivers, streams and creeks. Excessive rain, inadequate drainage or dam failure may cause thousands of dollars in damage. Commissioner Koken said homeowners and business owners should discuss flood coverage with their insurance agents.

"Standard homeowner policies do not include coverage for flood damage," she said. "Because there's a 30-day waiting period before a policy becomes effective, the sooner you get coverage, the better."

Flood insurance is available to homeowners and businesses in Pennsylvania and other states in communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. The insurance can be purchased for any insurable property, including rental property and condominiums, even if it is not in a flood plain.

Flood insurance policies cover damages related to the partial or complete flooding of normally dry land from the overflow of inland or tidal water, unusual and rapid accumulation of runoff of surface water from any source, mud slides or mudflows that are caused by flood, the collapse or destabilization of land along the shore of a lake or other body of water resulting from erosion, and waves or water currents exceeding normal levels.

Damage from sewer backups is covered only if it is caused directly by flooding.

'Silent Quake' Rumbles Under WA

San Francisco-A "silent earthquake" has been rattling deep beneath the earth's surface in Washington state and British Columbia since early February, according to Earthquake News.

While the slow quake is not noticeable to humans, in contrast to the jolts that often rock the earth's surface, a Canadian geologist told the news service that these silent quakes eventually can trigger more devastating earthquakes in the future.

Only in the past five years have scientists been able to measure these silent quakes with the help of Global Positioning System technology.

Canadian seismologist Herb Dragert told the news service that silent quakes occur about every 15 months between California and Canada. When they occur, the silent quakes add to the stress in the tectonic plates beneath the earth's surface. That stress is released once every few hundred years in the form of a magnitude 8 or 9 earthquake, he said.

LandSafe Flood Added to Calyx

Plano, TX-LandSafe, a national provider of real estate information and closing services, now offers flood determinations via Calyx's Point loan origination software.

LandSafe credit reports have been available on Point since June of 2001. "Providing quick and easy access to LandSafe Flood products through Calyx's Point is a significant step to fulfilling our commitment to lenders across the nation to make the wide range of LandSafe closing services available to them through single points of access," said Michael Faine, managing director, president and COO of LandSafe.

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