Monday, March 10, 2014

Furhter updates and potential "good" news about the new floodmaps

IMPORTANT NEWS - Preliminary Floodplain Mapping Information The Coastal Resources Commission met last week in Nags Head and a portion of the agenda was dedicated to flood, wind and homeowners insurance as well as NC flood maps. Kenneth Ashe, Assistant Program Director with the North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Office, presented preliminary floodplain mapping data for the Outer Banks and other coastal communities. The information presented comes as great news for Dare, Currituck and Hyde Counties! First, Mr. Ashe informed Commission members that flood maps are due to be released, per FEMA approval, per County as follows: •Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender – July 2014 •Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Pasquotank, Perquimans – September 2014 •Carteret, Craven, Onslow, Pamlico – November 2014 •Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell – End of Year 2014 •Bertie, Washington – March 2014 The preliminary data shows an 82% drop in VE zone structures and a 65% drop in AE zone structures! Only structures within those zones are required to have flood insurance when they are covered by a mortgage. If not within the VE or AE zone, property owners can buy flood insurance at greatly reduced, preferred risk rates. OBAR/OBHBA Government Affairs Liaison Willo Kelly participated in the CRC meeting. She shared the above information as well as an update on homeowners and flood insurance at a meeting last night sponsored by the Dare County League of Women Voters. The Outer Banks Voice will be providing video highlights of that meeting soon at www.outerbanksvoice.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Flood Maps To Change: Winners and Losers to be expected.

Interesting articles coming from Cindy Beamon at the Daily Advance. Both articles seem to point that change is again coming, and no one yet knows if they will be better or worse off for it with regards to their flood rating. See articles below:

New flood maps may benefit Currituck ratepayers By Cindy Beamon The Daily Advance
Friday, January 31, 2014 CURRITUCK — New federal flood maps coming out this spring may deliver good news to Currituck County instead of bad news as local officials had feared. In fact, flood insurance risks are likely to go down, which may mean lower premium costs, based on preliminary figures from the state’s National Flood Insurance Program Coordinator. “We are not as impacted as other states because we have done a better job of modeling,” said Currituck Planning Director Ben Woody. Every five years when the Federal Emergency Management Agency updates its flood maps, there’s a chance that homes outside the flood hazard area could be bumped into a higher-cost category. The shift could cause insurance premiums to go up for policyholders whose property lands in a higher-risk zone than before. The release of new flood maps last year in New Jersey and Louisiana were a big blow to many homeowners who were suddenly shifted into higher-risk categories. However, the new maps in Currituck are more likely to benefit property owners than hurt them. About 6,200 buildings now in the special flood hazard area could be removed to a lower risk category with the new maps. That’s good news for about 30 percent of 20,700 total buildings in the county. Most of the affected buildings are now in “AE” or “VE” flood hazard zones with an estimated 1 percent chance of being flooded every year. Of the 6,200, an estimated 5,200 buildings could be downgraded from AE to a lower-risk category, said John Gerber, the state’s NFIB coordinator in a letter to county officials last week. Homes in the AE zone have an estimated 26 percent chance of flooding during a standard 30-year mortgage. Another 900 buildings are in the VE zone for areas along the coast with a 1 percent annual chance of flooding from storm-induced wave action. Currituck Commissioners say they want to find out if most of those buildings are in Pine Island and Corolla Light, which have dune replenishment programs. Board members said if the dune build-up has helped improve insurance ratings, the county may want to consider doing the same in other areas that would benefit. The county may not know until late spring when work maps are released what specific properties may benefit from the new flood mapping. The preliminary figures only tell the number of buildings that would be impacted but do not identify specific buildings. Woody said North Carolina’s stricter standards for flood prevention have meant a less dramatic impact for state residents. “As a whole, the maps are good for us,” said Woody. Under FEMA’s timetable, the new maps would go into effect in 2015. However, the timetable is subject to change if Congress votes to delay parts of the Biggert-Waters Act. NC-20, an organization representing coastal counties, has warned that the legislation will negatively affect eastern counties in North Carolina.
800 properties may see higher insurance rates By Cindy Beamon The Daily Advance
Friday, January 31, 2014 About 800 properties in the five-county region are likely to face higher flood insurance bills in coming years if Congress refuses to slow down a timetable for changes to the nation’s flood insurance program. Congress enacted the Biggert-Waters Reform Act in 2012 as a way to stop bailing out homeowners whose flood insurance it believes have been subsidized by taxpayers and other policyholders. On Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted 67-32 to delay some, but not all, of the changes enacted in the Biggert-Waters law. But the effort could stall in the U.S. House, where, according to The Associated Press, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, is skeptical of the delay. Altogether, Pasquotank, Currituck, Camden, Perquimans and Chowan counties have a combined 10,600 federal flood insurance policyholders. Not quite 8 percent of those policyholders will be affected by changes to end special discounts for older homes previously “grandfathered” under the National Flood Insurance Program. A breakdown by county, town and city on the number of properties affected is: • Camden 100; • Elizabeth City 249; • Chowan County 20; • Edenton 29; • Currituck 286; • Pasquotank 89; • Perquimans 23; • Winfall and Hertford, 10. Currituck County’s northern beaches are not eligible for federal flood insurance and would not be affected, although county officials said they’ve heard reports that privately-backed insurers are upping their rates anyway. The Biggert-Waters Act, named for the law’s co-authors, Congresswomen Judy Biggert, R-Ill., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif., affects homes that were built after the Flood Insurance Program was enacted and before the first flood maps were adopted in each community. In Currituck County’s case, homes built before 1984 were previously exempt from paying higher rates if they didn’t meet flood-proofing standards adopted after they were built. The Biggert-Waters Act will remove that exemption so that homes must be brought up to modern construction standards or face big increases for flood insurance. The new law is designed to phase in a number of changes that raise rates to accurately reflect risk. NC-20, an organization representing coastal counties in North Carolina, said the legislation will cause insurance costs for some properties to skyrocket. One homeowner in Avon opted to sell her beach resort home rather than pay $15,000 in annual premiums, says Willo Kelly of NC-20. Several boards of commissioners in the northeast, including in Currituck and Pasquotank counties, are saying the reform will cripple the local economy by raising insurance rates beyond what property owners can afford to pay. Currituck and Dare counties are likely to see the biggest impacts in the five-county area if the Biggert-Waters Act isn’t delayed. Currituck has the sixth-most flood insurance policies of any county in North Carolina. Dare County has the most in the state. Because beach construction started later on the Currituck Outer Banks, its homes are newer and less likely to be affected than Dare. Changes so far have affected second homes, and businesses and homeowners who sell their homes or switch flood insurance policies. By late 2014, subsidies and discounts for all other “grandfathered” properties is scheduled to be phased out over the next five years. Rates can only go up 20 percent each year until they reach “full-risk” rates. This spring, new flood maps by the Federal Emergency Management Agency are scheduled to be released for the region that could affect more property owners. Properties shifted into flood hazard areas or into higher risk zones would not be eligible for discounts or subsidies previously available under the old rules.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Carova Beach Voted #1 by readers of Coastal Living Magazine

It comes as no surprise to me but Carova won the reader's choice for Best Beach. It appears the secret is no longer...