Last Saturday, the City of Clive hosted an event at the Indian Hills Middle School auditorium to help address questions relating to flood map changes that have been completed by FEMA. There were FEMA representative on hand as well as city council members, the mayor, and representatives of our federally elected officials of Congressman Young and Congresswoman Joni Ernest plus Senator Chuck Grassley.
Absolute Insurance sent a representative (Dan Bell) to attend this meeting as well to better understand the changes that are forthcoming and to better assist clients and homeowners that are affected.
The mapping changes have changed the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) for the area surrounding the Walnut Creek Watershed area which includes hundreds of homes and business in the Clive area. However, 2/3's of the entire state of Iowa have had remapping conducted as well meaning the impact of these changes will be widespread. With that said though, Clive and other areas of Polk county will begin the implementation of these changes with initial procedures beginning January 2016 and with a anticipated date of January 2017 for the maps to become effective.
The purpose of this meeting was to help homeowners understand that a flood risk is present and has increased since the last mapping that was at least 20 years ago. With that, the meeting was held to also help homeowners understand flood insurance and how they could purchase it and the impact it would have on a "going-forward" basis.
There are essentially 3 different situations that have occurred from the remapping:
- Homeowner is currently in the high-risk flood zone of A or AE and currently has a flood insurance requirement if there is a loan with federal backing. These homeowners will not experience anything new from this change (other laws may impact them with regards to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 and in conjunction with the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014).
- Homeowner was previously in the high-risk flood zone of A or AE and had a Letter Of Map Amendment (LOMA) done through the use of a hired engineer or land surveyor that has demonstrated to FEMA that the the Lowest Adjacent Grade (LAG) of the property (as defined by FEMA based on the structure characteristics) is above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). This would have removed the property from flood insurance requirements on the previous maps. This homeowner that has a LOMA should contact the City to see what the new BFE is per the new maps to see if their LAG is still above BFE. If so, then they will NOT be required to purchase flood insurance. However, if the LAG is now below or at BFE, then this homeowner will now be required to purchase flood insurance for federally backed loans.
- Homeowner was previously in the low risk zone of X and will now be in the high risk zone of A or AE. This homeowner will now be required to purchase flood insurance should they have or need to secure a federally backed loan.
This Is Your Call To Action: Here is what YOU can do to help mitigate the cost of the newly required flood insurance for federally backed loans:
- Should the homeowner be either the 2nd type with a LAG either at or below BFE or being mapped into the A or AE zone, there are things that be accomplished now to help with rates:They can purchase the coverage at the current low risk zone (X) in the Preferred Flood Insurance Program at a very reasonable cost and keep that rate for 1 year after the inception of the new flood maps.
- After the expiration of that renewal, the insured will then keep the X zone classification but be moved from the Preferred Flood Insurance Program to the Standard Program. These rates will be capped at a maximum of 18% increases per year until the policy reaches the fully earned rate of "X" in the Standard Program. These rates will be considerably less than the alternative of having to purchase flood insurance at the A or AE zones in the Standard Program.
From what was disclosed at the meeting, these maps will take effect on January 1st 2017 with a few exceptions being made through an appeals process. However, if you are a homeowner that is being adversely affected by these changes, NOW is the time to act. Contact Absolute Insurance at 515-279-2722 or go to FloodSmart.gov for further information.