If you live in a high-risk flood zone and are required to carry flood insurance by your mortgage company, then you probably have noticed the hefty premiums of high-risk zones. When insurance subsidies were repealed in the 2012 Biggert-Waters act, many homeowners began to feel the weight of these required flood policies. Homeowners were stuck in a rough spot. They had to carry flood insurance on properties that were deemed to be in “high-risk” zones, but there was no longer any sort of assistance program to help cover the extra premiums for Flood insurance.
According to Joe Rossi, chairman of the Marshfield and Massachusetts coastal coalitions, there are, “….150,000 buildings across the country are considered problem structures . . . those homeowners need mitigation help to elevate their properties.” Homeowners in repetitive-loss properties across the country are facing a growing problem. Without the available government subsidies to assist with mitigation, they are facing the harsh reality that when their homes sustain repetitive losses, they will be paying rising premiums on flood policies that they are required to carry to meet their mortgage requirements on the house. Mitigation options can also be expensive.
If the federal program chooses to revise and reinstate subsidy programs, they are facing another challenge. According to a recent post by the Patriot Ledger, “Figuring out how to tackle the program’s problems remains complicated and politically fraught. Lawmakers must decide whether to raise rates –and by how much –on the roughly one in five homeowners who pay below-market premiums mandated by Congress. Raising premiums to reflect true flood risk could shore up the program’s finances; it also could mean sharp premium hikes and a public backlash over affordability.”
Across the country, there are an estimated reported 11,000 properties that are considered repetitive-loss properties. While a government assistance program would drastically help these properties make mitigation changes to decrease premiums and lower their repetitive-losses (and thus rising premiums), it would be at the cost of increased premiums on flood policies across the board. According to an article by the Patriot Ledger, “The same dilemma occurred when homeowners started feeling the effects of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which eliminated flood insurance subsidies and caused premiums to soar…..”
In 2006 a program was introduced that provided mitigation aid to about 50 homes with FEMA paying up to 75% (or $40,000 maximum) for any one property. According to a recent legislation passed by the House committee last month, “legislation [is being passed] to overhaul and reauthorize the program. If adopted, it would compel communities with persistent flooding problems to develop plans to reduce them and would require more transparency about a property’s flood history. The Senate is also trying to strengthen the program by better funding flood mitigation projects, promoting the use of high-resolution mapping technology and encouraging private insurers to enter the market.”
All The Best,
Kelley Carter, CPIA
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- Information taken from an article on 7/24/2017 by The Patriot Ledger. Sources linked for citation in the article above. You can read the full article here.