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Updates Offered for Flood Insurance Changes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Spencer Rogers, 910/962-2491, rogerssp@uncw.edu

Posted Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A recent update from federal officials is meant to help policyholders around the nation better understand how their premiums for the National Flood Insurance Program could rise in light of federal legislation, according to a review by Spencer Rogers of North Carolina Sea Grant.

"The clarifications do not alter the most significant changes for policyholders with older buildings that had been grandfathered into categories based on previous versions of local flood maps. Buildings that had met standards when constructed but do not comply with the most recent flood maps or construction standards still face substantial increases," Rogers explains.

Under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, annual premiums for policies previously only slightly out of compliance could see premiums double for a $100,000 structure. "For higher coverage or farther from compliance, some annual premiums may rise by tens of thousands of dollars annually," he adds.

North Carolina Sea Grant's coastal construction and erosion specialist for more than 30 years, Rogers has reviewed the reforms in the federal program, known as NFIP, that were signed into law in 2012, along with additional guidance issued to federal officials in late March of this year.

In 2007-2009, Rogers served on a panel appointed by the National Academy of Sciences to review the status of floodplain mapping across the nation. He also has worked with individual property owners, as well as local, state and federal officials, and the building design, construction and insurance industries to identify flood-resistant construction practices, as well as storm-resistant adaptations to existing structures, in order to mitigate potential damage from flooding, storm surges and other hazards.

Rogers has updated his short summary regarding NFIP changes, including text and a table, to describe the potential increases. The memo is available for download here.

Rogers provides examples for structures in or near the two most common flood zones: the AE-zone, found around inland rivers and streams as well as coastal areas; and the VE-zone, where waves are predicted on the ocean shoreline and around larger coastal bays.

"My updated summary is meant to alert NFIP policyholders to plan for future premium changes with their own insurance agent, and to consider mitigation efforts to reduce premiums and flood losses," he adds.

Text of the changes in the National Flood Insurance Program is available from the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/chapter-50/subchapter-I.

Overall information on the National Flood Insurance Program is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency: http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program. Also, information on the March 29, 2013 update is available at: http://www.nfipiservice.com/Stakeholder/FEMA/W-13016.html.

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