Lincoln County Commissioners kept up the pace on the federal flood insurance treadmill Wednesday, basically complying with a brand new mandate on what residents can build and what they can’t build on their coast and riverside properties that are at high risk for flooding, or have a history of flooding. However, it’s not quite as strict as it sounds. The details of individual properties can be discussed and agreed to subject to federal regulations.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has laid down the law that anyone who doesn’t fully comply with FEMA regulations runs the risk of not being covered by federal flood insurance. And that’s a big hammer.
Lincoln County Planning Director Onno Husing said the mandate came down earlier this year creating tremendous pressure to take into account thousands of properties and to inform property owners of the rather large task. But they got it done. Husing’s staff said FEMA requirements are strict and that any flood-endangered property owner who doesn’t cooperate with the “new flood maps” will not be federally insured. They’ll have to go with regular private insurance. And that can be a double-edge sword.
Although some private insurance firms may offer a slightly lower insurance premium there is a danger that if there is widespread devastation from a flood, the property owner runs a risk of the insurance company not having the financial reserves to cover everyone’s claims. That’s not likely to happen with FEMA insurance because it’s backed up by the federal government. (Don’t forget who prints U.S. currency.)
Any questions about flood insurance requirements and options can call the Lincoln County Planning Department at 541.265.4192. Lincoln County Commissioners are expected to formally approve the new FEMA Flood Insurance Maps at their October 16th meeting.