January 2014 - Bradford PA Insurance - Williams Insurance Agency

PA Flood Insurance Elevation Certificates

January 31, 2014 in biggert-waters act, biggert-waters act Bradford PA, biggert-waters flood insurance reform act, bradford, Bradford PA, elevation certificates, fema, flood insurance, Flood insurance Bradford, Flood Insurance Bradford PA, flood insurance elevation certificate, Uncategorized

With the passing of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, many people have seen their rates change or expect to see them change in the future. This has already been the case for thousands of people in Pennsylvania. As such, many Pennsylvanians are researching how these changes could affect them and their policy. Keep reading for more information about one very important area: elevation certificates.

Elevation Certificates

Elevation certificates are an administrative tool used by the National Flood Insurance Program. This government program has been in operation since 1968 and has helped subsidize countless insurance policies for property owners across the country.

The National Flood Insurance Program uses elevation certificates to decide insurance premiums. Elevation certificates can also be used to record elevation information used to ensure that community floodplain management regulations are being met. They’re also used for requesting Letters of Map Amendment or Revision.

Who Needs Elevation Certificates

These certificates are required for any structure built after the Flood Insurance Rate Map was published for Zones A1 to A30, AE, AH, A (with Base Flood Elevation), VE, V1 to V30, V (with Base Flood Elevation), AR, AR/A, AR/AE, AR/A1 to A30, AR/AH, and AR/A). You can go online to find out what zone your building is in, and FEMA has many resources that you can use.

For the most part, elevation certificates are only needed for buildings constructed post-FIRM. However, there are some exceptions, which is why it’s a good idea to contact your local insurance agency that handles flood insurance to make sure.

Other Considerations

The National Flood Insurance Program requires every relevant community to take on a floodplain management ordinance. In it, the ordinance must specify minimum requirements aimed at reducing losses during a flood. One of these mandatory requirements is to record the elevation of the lowest floor in any new or otherwise renovated buildings. Elevation certificates make it easy to comply with this rule.

Who Can Provide Elevation Certificates?

Only those authorized by the state or local authorities can prepare elevation certificates. These individuals will be engineers, architects, or land surveyors. Community officials authorized by state or local authorities can also sign off on certificates.

At Williams Agency, we’re happy to obtain flood insurance on our clients’ behalf. As many in Pennsylvania have been dismayed by the sharp increase in their insurance rates under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, we’re also happy to pass on as many savings as possible. Fortunately, we are one of the few agencies that can provide you with coverage without obtaining an elevation certificate first.



Preparing for September Under the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012

January 29, 2014 in biggert-waters act, biggert-waters act Bradford PA, biggert-waters flood insurance reform act, bradford, Bradford PA, bradford pennsylvania, flood insurance, Flood insurance Bradford, Flood Insurance Bradford PA, flood insurance rates, flood insurance rates in pennsylvania, national flood insurance program

When the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 passed it was with the intention of helping to reduce the billions of dollars of debt the National Flood Insurance Program had taken on thanks to Katrina and other hurricanes and tropical storms. The debt had gotten as high as $24 billion. The problem is that one of the main ways the Act looks to pay down this debt is by increasing the insurance rates for those it subsidizes. While Congress recently voted to delay most of the other increases until September, many Pennsylvanians are still wary of what’s to come.

The HDPC Review

While the Senate was voting on Monday to begin debate that would put off FIRM for another 4 years, Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Pennsylvania met at a House Democratic Policy Committee. Their goal was to listen to some of the outrage being voiced by Pennsylvanians across the state in light of the increases caused by the act. Amongst those who spoke up were homeowners, home financers, and other housing experts.

Of the nearly 75,000 policyholders in Pennsylvania under the National Flood Insurance Program, some 34,500 are expected to feel the impact of FIRM. During the hearing on Monday, lawmakers heard stories of homeowners seeing their rates double in cost or even triple. There have even been reports of homeowners who have seen their insurance costs increase 10 times over what they were.

Potential Consequences

Pennsylvanians have more to fear in September than just a spike in costs, however. The unintended consequences of FIRM are expected to be widespread and disastrous. Property values will no doubt fall in the areas hit hardest by higher rates. Many homeowners may end up foreclosing due to the higher cost of flood insurance, as well. If this happens, taxes will probably be increased to make up for lost revenues. As many increases won’t kick in until a property is sold, foreclosure may actually become the only option available to many.

Potential Options

For those required to get flood insurance, there may be some options available. FEMA offers some aid in particular situations that can help offset costs. Fortunately, there are also insurance agencies that have special arrangements, which result in lower costs.

One such example is Williams Agency. They are pleased to offer Pennsylvanians the flood insurance they need at reduced prices. In fact, they can even obtain flood insurance for their clients without elevation certificates. Few agencies in Pennsylvania can make this same claim.







Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012

January 29, 2014 in biggert-waters act, biggert-waters act Bradford PA, biggert-waters flood insurance reform act, bradford, Bradford PA, bradford pennsylvania, fema, flood insurance, Flood insurance Bradford, Flood Insurance Bradford PA, flood insurance elevation certificate, flood insurance rates, national flood insurance program, nfip, Uncategorized

Back in July of 2012, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 was signed into law by Congress. The Act demands that the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other relevant bodies change a number of the ways the National Flood Insurance Program is operated. Amongst some of the changes called for are increases in premium rates for some policyholders in an attempt to make the entire program more stable and accurate. It also provides authorization for the NFIP through September 30, 2017.


The History of the NFIP


The National Flood Insurance Program was created by Congress more than 40 years ago, after Hurricane Betsy went through New Orleans, resulting in more than a billion dollars in damage.


In light of this, lawmakers felt it necessary to subsidize the supply of flood insurance, especially to those citizens who lived along the coast. For nearly four decades, the NFIP was run without issue. However, in 2005, things started to deteriorate with the onset of Hurricane Katrina. After that, came hurricanes Rita and Wilma, as well as several other tropical storms that delivered serious damage to numerous cities, all of which required large sums of money to restore. As a result, the program quickly went $24 billion into debt.


Higher Premiums


One of the major changes that accompany the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act is a trend toward higher premiums for structures that exist below the BFE (Base Flood Elevation). The act specifically instructs FEMA to cease providing discounts on the premiums afforded these properties, even ones that were up to code when they were built.


Flood Risk Ratings Changed


Generally, many buildings were able to keep the flood-risk rating they were originally provided, even after information came to light that brought those ratings into question.


This often concerned structures that were built before 1975 or prior to when the jurisdiction had received its initial Flood Insurance Rate Map. These buildings were typically insured at their original pre-FIRM rates.


Other buildings came after their jurisdictions’ FIRM and were given corresponding rates. However, when later FIRMs came along, they were allowed to keep the original rates that they were quoted.


Both these types of situations are considered null and void, for the most part, under the Biggert-Waters Act.


Despite the increased costs of flood insurance under the Bigger-Waters Act, there are still options available. Williams Agency, for example, can offer flood insurance without the added costs of an elevation certificate, saving our clients up to $1,000.











S. Campbell & M. Whaley

January 2, 2014 in Testimonials

“We really needed to save money on good insurance. Williams Agency helped us do that. The amount was unbelievable. Kristen Pecen was very helpful and pleasant. With a little help from us she had exactly what we wanted. This insurance takes care of our needs and is very reasonably priced. Thank you.”

S. Campbell & M. Whaley

Sherry Campbell & Mary Whaley $25 Testimonial 001