City property owners get discount on flood insurance

Published 8:27 pm Sunday, April 24, 2016

DAILY NEWS WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE: Jack’s Creek floods during Hurricane Irene in August 2011, threatening nearby houses and other structures.

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE: Jack’s Creek floods during Hurricane Irene in August 2011, threatening nearby houses and other structures.

With hurricane season beginning in less than two months, some Washington property owners who do not have flood insurance might want to consider buying it, especially those who live in flood-prone areas.

Although most flooding in Washington occurs during hurricane season — June 1 through Nov. 30 — not all flooding in the city occurs during that six-month period.

Washington’s floodplain-management program is saving property owners money.

They are receiving a 15-percent discount on their National Flood Insurance Program premiums because the city has one of the best floodplain-management programs in North Carolina. In 2012, Washington was recognized for operating a top-notch floodplain-management program. Washington residents have some of the lowest flood-insurance premiums in North Carolina.

Beaufort County does not participate in the NFIP’s Community Rating System.

Washington’s current CRS rating is seven. Belhaven’s CRS score is seven, meaning its property owners with flood insurance receive a 15-percent discount on their premiums. Washington Park has an eight rating. That town’s property owners with flood insurance receive a 10-percent break on their premiums. No other municipality in the county participates in CRS, meaning property owners in those towns who buy flood insurance do not receive discounts on their premiums, which vary based on several factors, including coverage amounts.

The maximum discount under the CRS is 45 percent. NFIP participants may obtain coverage for their buildings and contents of those buildings.

“The National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements,” according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website.

By exceeding the minimum requirements, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the three goals of the CRS, according to FEMA. Those goals are to reduce flood damage to insurable property, strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP and encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.

In North Carolina during 2014, the average flood-insurance claim was $21,502, according to NFIP data. Data for 2015 has not yet been posted on the NFIP website.

Usually, there is a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase for flood insurance to take effect.

Houses and buildings in high-risk flood areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are required to have flood insurance. In high-risk areas, there is at least a 1-in-4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage, according to the NFIP website.

Residences and businesses located in moderate- to low-risk areas that have mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are typically not required to have flood insurance. Although flood insurance isn’t federally required, anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. People outside of mapped high-risk flood areas file more than 20 percent of all NFIP claims and receive one-third of federal disaster assistance for flooding. When it’s available, disaster assistance is typically a loan that must be repaid with interest.

For additional information about the National Flood Insurance Program, visit or call 1-888-379-9531.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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