How Flood Insurance Works
An overview of how flood insurance works and the role of FEMA.
Detroit Free Press, Wochit
Flood insurance premiums are expected to rise for 85% of National Flood Insurance Program policies in Acadiana as FEMA moves to a more targeted method of calculating a property’s risk.
FEMA’s new Risk Rating Program 2.0 went into effect Oct. 1 for new NFIP policies, but for existing policies, which cover some 496,000 properties across Louisiana, the changes won’t go into effect until after April 1.
The change is estimated to mean increases of less than $10 per month for about 77% of NFIP policies in Acadiana, and it will result in lower overall flood insurance costs for 15% of policyholders in the region, according to FEMA data.
Policies that are expected to decline under the new Risk Scoring 2.0 standards, which focus on individual property liability rather than the use of FEMA’s well-known flood maps, are eligible to renew their policies before on April 1 to take advantage of their lower rate.
According to FEMA, about 3% of Acadiana’s policyholders, or 1,447, will see reductions of more than $100 per month on their annual flood insurance costs.
More information is available online at FloodSmart.gov.
Coastal Acadiana and some lower-lying interior areas will see the largest share of policy increases under the new rating system, with more than 90% of properties in zip codes south of Lafayette Parish expected to see some level of increase under the new program.
Nationally, flood insurance rates are expected to fall for 23% of policyholders and rise by less than $10 a month for another 66%, according to FEMA, which advocates the change as “equity in action”.
Northern areas of Acadiana are expected to be less impacted by the change, although at least 60% of policyholders in all but three zip codes in the eight-parish area will see an increase.
Some inland areas, like southern Lafayette, Carencro and communities around Iota will also see almost all policyholders face increased flood insurance premiums as part of the change.
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Communities can mitigate the impact of changing flood risk methodology on their insurance premiums. Local regulations and projects can reduce premiums through FEMA’s community rating system.
New floodplain administrator for the Lafayette Consolidated Government, Clay Boudreaux, said the City of Lafayette and unincorporated parts of Lafayette Parish previously received a 15% reduction in NFIP premiums thanks to the rules. flood control programs that LCG has implemented and the projects that it has completed.
The 15% community rebate is based on development requirements that reduce the likelihood of buildings flooding, such as elevation certificates and permit requirements, Boudreaux said. It is currently being renewed with FEMA.
“Requiring a freeboard of one foot above base flood elevation gives us credit. Having all our prescriptions online, stuff like that helps. Restricting what can be built at inside a flood path versus a flood plain. Different things like that help us,” Boudreaux says.
It is further spurred by improved drainage infrastructure, such as lava maintenance and retention ponds, which have been high priorities for the administration of President-Mayor Josh Guillory.
Wettest year since 1940: Drainage, a top priority for the Lafayette government
Boudreaux said LCG also hopes to improve its CRS position to achieve a greater discount through a new initiative – an online survey for homeowners who have suffered flood damage in the past.
The survey, available online at lafayettela.gov/DP/flood-mitigation-property-survey, helps homeowners determine if they are eligible for flood mitigation programs that can provide funding for buyouts or elevations. .
“If they’re interested in potentially participating in this program that helps mitigate flood damage, that could lower our (rates) as well,” Boudreaux said. “So we’re trying to get that information out there.”
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