After receiving further information on characteristics of high risk properties, we pulled the photos of several houses in an area of South Beach that were inaccurate. We regret any confusion they may have caused. Exact locations of high risk areas can be identified at the end of this article by clicking on the link to a website that will indicate which properties are affected.
National Flood Insurance, underwritten by the federal government, has become a lot more costly due to recently passed legislation in Washington. Recent storms and hurricanes, especially on the East Coast and along the Gulf of Mexico, have run up an unpaid tab of $25 Billion. Congress determined that such an upside down insurance program will never sustain itself unless premiums go up. WAY UP!
The National Flood Insurance Program stepped up to the plate many years ago after the private insurance industry bailed out due to unsustainable losses. But there are limits past which Uncle Sam will not go in paying out billions in relief to those who have built their homes or businesses in flood prone areas and file lots of insurance claims.
The Biggert-Waters act declares that the only way to keep the National Flood Insurance Program afloat is to raise premiums – some of those premiums reaching clear up to the sky and beyond. Lincoln County Planning Director Onno Husing, fresh off a couple of outreach sessions with local home and business owners, said the increases can be huge – from ten to even forty thousand dollars a year. Those owning homes along low lying beaches and along river banks are especially hard hit.
Husing says many western state and federal lawmakers face a dilemma – how to explain to their constituents that they have to pick up a big part of the cost of flood damage that occurs on the East and Gulf Coasts where the overwhelming number of claims are filed.
But it gets worse. With rapidly rising flood insurance premiums for property owners in the west, high priced real estate near rivers and the ocean will fall in value, thereby reducing tax revenues to local governments for police, fire, streets, roads, schools and all the rest. And local government officials say, it’s those exact properties that pay the big bucks in property taxes that keeps cities and county’s going.
A perfect storm.
Like their local government counterparts around the west, our Lincoln County Commissioners are contacting our U.S. Representatives and Senators and asking them to suspend the Biggert-Waters Act until a more reasonable approach can be developed. Some argue that a 24 Billion dollar loss in the National Flood Insurance Program is something that a $3.5 Trillion dollar a year federal budget could easily absorb – certainly better to do that than cripple the economies of communities and regions just because they’re near the beach or have a river running through them.
Meanwhile homeowners and business property owners are checking out a federal government website to find out if their particular property is in a high risk, and therefore high priced insurance zone. www.FloodSmart.gov is the website. Just type in your address, city and zip code and you’ll find out immediately where you are on the premium ladder. Click here.