Implications of Flood Reform on Your Flood Insurance Rates

February 25, 2014 in biggert-waters act, biggert-waters flood insurance reform act, elevation certificates, fema, flood insurance, flood insurance elevation certificate, flood insurance rates, national flood insurance program, nfip

The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 was seen by many as long overdue legislation aimed at the country’s National Flood Insurance Program. After the likes of Katrina and a handful of other hurricanes and tropical storms put the national program $24 billion into debt, it was clear that measures had to be taken to make the NFIP more stable.

The BW-12 and Insurance

One of the ways the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 sought to enact meaningful change was by adjusting the insurance rates they offered, so as to make them better reflect the risk that customers actually faced.

This doesn’t mean everyone will see their rates increase, of course. However, events leading up to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 made it clear that some areas were grossly underpriced for insurance, given what their true risk really was.

Your Insurance Rates

As everyone will be affected differently by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, it behooves everyone to look into what their insurance rates will now be. Many people who think they are untouched by legislation may find an unpleasant surprise in the Act.

Two groups are especially vulnerable under BW-12, in light of their historical insurance rates.

Buildings that Sit Below Base Flood Elevation

The Base Flood Elevation (BFE) is the elevation required under the National Flood Insurance Program, where a structure needs to be flood-proofed. It’s the level floodwater is anticipated to reach during a base flood.

In the past, many building owners received discounted rates from FEMA, despite falling below BFE. The BW-12 now puts an end to most of that. So, even if your building was up to code when you had it built, if it falls under BFE now, you can expect to pay more.

Structures that Had Been Grandfathered In

Many building owners have benefited from having their original rating grandfathered in, even after better information came to the table. Under BW-12, most of those scenarios will no longer stand.

For example, these included structures built before 1975 or before their local area was assigned a Flood Insurance Rate Map. Many buildings in these instances were insured with pre-FIRM rates. BW-12 will more than likely make rates in these situations increase.

Though the reform was long overdue and comes with the best intentions, many people will find that it means they’ll be paying a lot more in the future. Give us a call at Williams Agency to discuss how it might be affecting you. We’re one of the few agencies that can offer you coverage without requiring an expensive elevation certificate.

Sources:

http://us.stormsmart.org/2013/01/07/what-flood-insurance-reform-means/

http://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance-reform-act-2012

http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program/base-flood-ele

HDPC Review Sheds Light on Biggert-Waters Act

February 22, 2014 in biggert-waters act, biggert-waters flood insurance reform act, national flood insurance program, nfip

On Monday, January 27th, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle congregated at a House Democratic Policy Committee to hear from homeowners, home finance professionals, and housing experts on the negative impacts being felt thanks to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012

Back in July of 2012, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 was passed by Congress as a means to dig the National Flood Insurance Program out of debt. Though it had operated smoothly since 1968, NFIP found itself $24 billion in debt after Katrina and other hurricanes and tropical storms destroyed coastal cities over the past 10 years.

Unintended Consequences

Though FIRM was passed to help pay for natural disasters in the future, it has caused a number of financial disasters in the present. Obviously, the only way to help get the NFIP out of debt was by increasing the costs of rates the program subsidized. However, these costs didn’t just increase, they skyrocketed. Across Pennsylvania, homeowners have reported seeing their rates doubling and even tripling. There have even been reports of some homeowners experiencing insurance rates that went up tenfold.

The increase in costs has just been the primary effect, however. With these increased insurance rates comes a decrease in property values. Many are predicting that an uptick in foreclosures can also be expected if this continues.

Due to the uproar, Congress voted to delay increases in premiums for policies that were grandfathered in until September of this year.

Further Delays

However, on the same Monday Pennsylvania lawmakers were collecting to hear about FIRM, the Senate voted to begin debating legislation that would delay the majority of increases by four years.

The vote passed 86-13, further highlighting the weight of the consequences carried by this bill. That said, the White House has made it known that a veto could be imminent. Nonetheless, with 26 more votes than what was needed to pass, it’s obvious that Pennsylvania is far from the only state struggling to make sense out of and/or handle the increases demanded by FIRM.

Williams Agency is happy to be able to offer Pennsylvanians the flood insurance they need at significantly reduced rates. For one thing, our agency doesn’t need to require elevation certificates like so many of our competitors do. Those savings alone can mean as much as $1,000 back in your pocket.

Sources:

http://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance-reform-act-2012

http://www.pahouse.com/Haggerty/index.asp?pg=PAHouseNews&doc=35961

Getting PA Flood Insurance without an Elevation Certificate

February 15, 2014 in elevation certificates, flood insurance, flood insurance elevation certificate, flood insurance rates, flood insurance rates in pennsylvania, national flood insurance program, nfip

With the passing of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, many Pennsylvanians have seen their rates increase. There have been reports of countless citizens experiencing their rates doubling and tripling. Some have even seen their insurance rates go up tenfold. While many won’t know what their insurance rates will be until September, everyone is bracing for bad news. One of the reasons for these increased costs is elevation certificates. Keep reading to learn more.

 

What is an Elevation Certificate?

 

An elevation certificate is an administrative tool used by the National Flood Insurance Program. Its purpose is to help the NFIP decide what the right insurance premium is for a given property. It’s also used to ensure that communities are complying with regulations on floodplain management. Elevation certificates are used for requesting Letters of Map Amendment or revision, as well.

 

For the most part, elevation certificates are only mandatory for buildings that were finished after the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 or those that were renovated after that time. However, because of the aforementioned reasons, it’s always a good idea to check with your local insurance agency to make sure none of your local businesses need them.

 

Where Can I Get an Elevation Certificate?

 

Only licensed professionals, like engineers and architects, can provide you with an elevation certificate. There is information online that can help you with preparing one on your own, but you will need signatures by authorized individuals before it will be approved.

 

If you need an elevation certificate in order to get flood insurance so that you can close on a loan, but you don’t have the time, you may have options. In many cases, flood insurance agencies can give you a policy based on an elevation certificate you can submit after the loan is closed on. You just have to make sure that, after you close, you move immediately to getting an elevation certificate prepared and submitted.

 

You’ll have to contact the insurance agency first, however, to see if you qualify for this option.

 

Getting Insurance without an Elevation Certificate

 

If all you want the certificate for is to get Pennsylvania flood insurance, though, you have another option. There are a select few agencies that don’t need certificates in order to obtain insurance on your behalf. Williams Agency is one of them. You can get the insurance you need, while saving as much as $1,000 in the process.

 

Sources:

 

https://www.metlifega.com/Products/Flood/LearntheBasics/WhatisanElevationCertificate/tabid/259/Default.aspx

Cheaper Pennsylvania Flood Insurance Options

February 12, 2014 in biggert-waters act, biggert-waters flood insurance reform act, flood insurance, flood insurance elevation certificate, flood insurance rates, flood insurance rates in pennsylvania, national flood insurance program, nfip, pa flood insurance rates, pennsylvania flood insurance, pennsylvania flood insurance rates

With Pennsylvanians already facing a number of economic challenges thanks to a slow recovery from the recession, many have found a new burden waiting for them in the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. Keep reading to find out more about the act and ways you can save money on receiving flood insurance in Pennsylvania.

 

The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012

 

The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 was passed as a means of dealing with the indebted National Flood Insurance Program. Started back in 1968, the NFIP had operated for decades without issue. But, starting with Katrina back in 2005, a handful of other hurricanes and tropical storms crippled the program with debt that reached $24 billion.

 

Part of reforming means reassessing how much flood insurance areas actually need. For many Pennsylvanians who receive their flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, this means a spike in rates. Those who own buildings built after FIRM was passed or who substantially renovated theirs after that time will also need to purchase an elevation certificate, which could cost as much as $1,000.

 

FEMA Programs for Cheaper Insurance

 

FEMA offers three separate programs aimed at helping property owners save on their flood insurance. One method is through hazard mitigation grants. These are grants FEMA gives to states for taking part in certain activities that will help reduce the risks involved with flooding.

 

There is also the Community Rating System. This system offers discounts as high as 45% on insurance premiums for individuals who own buildings in areas that implement floodplain management practices above the National Flood Insurance Program’s requirements.

 

If your home or building is located in a high-risk area, as decided by the National Flood Program, you could receive up to $30,000 to bring the structure into compliance with your community’s floodplain. However, to qualify, your building already needs to exhibit damage from a flood.

 

Williams Agency

 

Another option is to simply choose Williams Agency for your Pennsylvania flood insurance needs. The firm has a unique arrangement that allows it to offer the insurance Pennsylvanians need at much more affordable prices. Amongst other things, the agency doesn’t require elevation certificates. As we covered earlier, this could save a policyholder as much as $1,000, all by itself.

With so many Pennsylvanians already hurting from the recession, the last thing they need is another cost to add to their plate. Consider Williams Agency for your flood insurance, and you’ll walk away with a much better rate.

 

Sources:

 

http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program

 

Can I Get Flood Insurance without an Elevation Certificate?

February 9, 2014 in biggert-waters act, biggert-waters flood insurance reform act, elevation certificates, fema, flood insurance, flood insurance elevation certificate, national flood insurance program, nfip, Uncategorized

While it certainly came with good intentions, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 has had a number of negative consequences that Pennsylvanians are not so fond of. One of its implications is that many Pennsylvanians who need flood insurance first need to have an elevation certificate created and submitted. Keep reading to find out more about these certificates, when they’re needed, and how you can get the insurance you need while bypassing the whole process.

 

The Elevation Certificate

 

Elevation certificates attest to the elevation of a structure based on the BFE (Base Flood Elevation) as decided on by FEMA. This information is used for a number of reasons. Any Pennsylvanian who wants to get flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program will need to submit an elevation certificate first. It will be mandatory for any structures built after the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 or any that were seriously renovated after that time. Buildings that were built prior to the act passing can still be submitted if their owners wish to get better rates. In all of these cases, elevation certificates will be necessary.

 

Obtaining Your Elevation Certificate

 

As I said, if you are hoping to secure insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, you will need to submit an Elevation Certificate. Before paying to have one done, check to make sure that one hasn’t already been created for your property. You can do this by checking with your property developer or officials in the community. They may have prepared their own for regulatory reasons related to floodplains.

 

Only those with proper certification can prepare an elevation certificate on your behalf. These people are generally engineers, architects, or surveyors who are authorized by state or local officials.

 

Fortunately, you can bypass a lot of red tape and save between $500 and $1,000 by getting your flood insurance through select agencies. Williams Agency is one such example. They have a special arrangement where they can secure flood insurance for their clients without having to obtain an elevation certificate first.

 

If you’re looking to secure a loan that requires you to receive flood insurance first, or you’re simply looking to comply with the new regulations of BW-12, you may have heard that you need an elevation certificate to continue. Fortunately, that’s one cost you can leave by the wayside. So long as you pick Williams Agency, you can get the insurance you need with one less cost involved.

 

Sources:

 

http://www.fema.gov/frequently-asked-questions-0/homeowners-frequently-asked-questions#hm8