Rising flood insurance rates would devastate property values

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A growing group of lawmakers is trying to get the federal government to re-address the issue to avoid the steep increases that would cause chaos here and elsewhere.

State Rep. Lenar Whitney, R-Houma, is the latest to add her voice to the choir demanding a resolution to this issue, which threatens to make flood insurance uninsurable to many and in the process make real estate all but unsellable. …

Whitney and some of her colleagues on the Gulf Coast Legislative Council are asking that Congress delay these drastic changes to the National Flood Insurance Program. They are also asking that the federal government step in and grandfather current policy holders’ rates.

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The federal action is meant to make the flood insurance program more financially sound. It requires that the program charge flood insurance rates based on the actual risk of flooding and does away with subsidies for the coverage.

Meanwhile, FEMA is in the process of updating the flood maps on which the risk factors are based. As they are updated, they are likely to show most of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes in or near flood zones, dramatically increasing the risk factor and the cost of insurance. …

Making flood insurance costs more accurately represent the risks various places face is a common sense reform. Making the coverage unaffordable, though, is simply inviting financial disaster.

Congress, FEMA and the NFIP have to work together to forge a much better alternative.