New law for flood insurance

Published 9:21 pm Friday, May 2, 2014

As of Thursday, all homebuyers of older properties are receiving an insurance rate reduction under the new Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. Policyholders should see their rates go to what it was in October 2013.

President Barack Obama signed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act March 21, 2014, which was originally enacted in 2012.

Pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map buildings are those built before the effective date of the first FIRM for a community. According to FEMA, what it is saying, homes and buildings built before a detailed flood hazard data and flood elevations were provided for the community.

“To penalize houses that were built in 1910, 1930 and 1950 that’s illogical and basically putting a stake in the heart of older riverfront, waterfront communities like Washington, Belhaven and Bath, so it’s good it’s gone,” Scott Campbell, a Washington Century 21 realtor, said.

In part because of the efforts of realtors, and National Association of Realtors, along with members of congress helped repeal the original Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012.

“Basically the government stopped the process of subsidizing flood insurance rates,” Campbell said. “What the original law did was make rates sky-rocket for people.”

With the implementation of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, policyholders that received rate increases under the previous legislation will get a discount on their policy.

“Why that is good news for us, we are a older established community,” Campbell said. “Our houses were built generally in the flood plain long before there was FEMA, flood maps and elevation certificates.”

For people who are building a new home in the flood plane have to build to flood standards and according to Campbell, the rates should be whatever the rates are because we are aware of flooding issues and problems now.

“It was illogical, and bad policy to punish those folks who live in historic areas or older areas,” Campbell said. “It is good news for people of Beaufort County in that it repeals the mandated forced increases in flood insurance on properties built long before any of the laws were around.”

FEMA posted on its website that they do not recommend cancelling flood insurance policies because it would leave policyholders unprotected from floods this spring and possible discounts from insurers.

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